The delta variant of the novel coronavirus has become so dominant that it now accounts for 83% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- “This is a dramatic increase from up from 50%, the week of July 3,” Walensky said Tuesday, according to CNBC.
Sequenced cases refer to when the CDC looks at the genetic makeup of a coronavirus case to see how it has changed over time. This allows scientists to identify trends and mutation in viruses, according to CDC. For example, this is how U.K. scientists first discovered the U.K. variant.
Sequenced COVID-19 cases don’t make up all COVID-19 cases. It’s an estimate that tries to determine how many cases have a specific strain or mutation of the virus. The high numbers suggest that the delta variant is making its way through the United States at a rapid rate.
In April, the Biden administration said it would direct $1.7 billion to sequence COVID-19 cases to determine the spread of virus variants, according to Roll Coll.
- “The emergence of variants underscores the critical need for rapid and ongoing genomic surveillance,” Walensky said in April, as per Roll Call.
Now, experts are considering whether or not to add COVID-19 restrictions back into society because of the spread of the delta variant, according to Fox News. Dr. Anthony Fauci and Walensky met with the Senate to discuss health measures like mask mandates amid the delta variant’s spread.
Both Walensky and Fauci suggested the COVID-19 vaccine is the top tool to keep people safe from the spread of the coronavirus, Fox News reports.