According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new coronavirus delta (delta) variant now accounts for 83 percent of new cases in the United States.
During the week of July 3, the delta variant had accounted for 50 percent of new cases.
The best way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 variant is to prevent the spread of the disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a Congressional Senate hearing Tuesday (July 20). “
The Delta variant was first identified in India and is reported to be more transmissible than other variants of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department urged Americans not to travel to the United Kingdom, where new cases of new crowns are on the rise.
The State Department raised its travel advisory about the U.K. to the highest level Monday, and the CDC took similar action earlier the same day.
Both agencies said people should make sure they are fully vaccinated if they must travel to the United Kingdom.
The revised U.S. travel warning comes as the British public celebrated “Freedom Day” and officially ended nearly all of the new crown outbreak lockdown measures, which included mandatory masking and social distancing.
The celebration was overshadowed, however, by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that from the end of September, proof of vaccination will be required to enter nightclubs and other crowded venues. Johnson was in quarantine on “Freedom Day,” after Health Minister Sajid Javid tested positive for COVID-19.
Cases in the U.K. exceeded 50,000 per day last week, the first since January. The surge in cases is largely the result of the Delta variant.
Across the Atlantic, the Canadian government announced Monday it will reopen its borders to U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in the United States starting Aug. 9, provided they are fully vaccinated against the new crown. Canada will allow fully vaccinated visitors from other countries to enter the country starting Sept. 7, officials said.
Canada and the United States banned all nonessential cross-border travel between the two countries in March 2020, with both countries renewing the ban on a monthly basis. A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and business organizations have called on Ottawa to lift the ban. They say the ban hurts tourism and inconveniences loved ones of families living on both sides of the border.
Meanwhile, in Australia, South Australian Prime Minister Steven Marshall announced the immediate commencement of a seven-day closure after five new cases were discovered in his state, leaving more than half of Australia’s 25 million citizens under quarantine measures on Tuesday.
South Australia joins the neighboring states of Victoria and New South Wales as states that have announced extended closures since late June. At the time, an airport bus driver in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, was tested for the highly contagious Delta variant after transporting international flight crews.
The announcement of the closure in South Australia comes as Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced an extension of the five-day closure imposed last Thursday for at least another seven days after 13 new cases of infection were reported there.
New South Wales, which is in its fourth consecutive week of extended closures, reported 78 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to more than 1,400 since the outbreak began.
Australia has been largely successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 through vigorous containment measures, with only 32,120 confirmed cases and 915 deaths, according to figures from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. However, the new wave of outbreaks poses a threat to Australia due to the slow pace of the vaccination program and confusion about the requirements for two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. AstraZeneca is the main species in Australia’s vaccine inventory.
According to Johns Hopkins, Australia has received a total of more than 10 million doses of the vaccine, with just over 11 percent of the total population of 25 million vaccinated.
A new study released Tuesday by the Center for Global Development, a U.S. think tank, said the total number of deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in India could be as many as 10 times the official count of 414,482 deaths, potentially the worst humanitarian crisis in the South Asian country since its independence from Britain in 1947. The study says
The study says as many as 3 million to 4.7 million people could die from the new coronavirus between January 2020 and June of this year. India, with an estimated 1.3 billion people, is the second most populous country in the world. India was hit hard by a surge in cases between April and May this year, fueled in part by the delta variant of the epidemic. Currently, India is coming out of the worst of it.