CDC document warns Delta variant appears to spread as easily as chickenpox and cause more severe infection - CNN
Jul 30, 2021 1 min, 55 secs
The document -- a slide presentation -- outlines unpublished data that shows fully vaccinated people might spread the Delta variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.

CDC Director Dr.

"When you think about diseases that have an R0 of eight or nine -- there aren't that many," Walensky told CNN.

And if vaccinated people get infected anyway, they have as much virus in their bodies as unvaccinated people.

"Therefore, more breakthrough and more community spread despite vaccination."

It says vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease or death 10-fold and reduce the risk of infection three-fold.

The presentation also cites three reports that indicate the Delta variant -- originally known as B.1.617.2 -- might cause more severe disease.

The CDC, the document advises, should "acknowledge the war has changed." It recommends vaccine mandates and universal mask requirements.

The virus is once against surging across the US -- especially in areas where fewer people are vaccinated.

The US averaged more than 61,300 new daily cases over the last week -- an average that's generally risen since the country hit a 2021 low of 11,299 daily cases on June 22, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

"The number of cases we have now is higher than any number we had on any given day last summer," Walensky told CNN.

As of Wednesday, cases have risen in all but one state in the past seven days compared with the week before, according to Johns Hopkins.

"The one thing I will say is I've been heartened in the past couple of days to see more people taking action in response to the fact that it's bad -- more organizations, businesses, states, localities taking the action that's needed to get us out of this," Walensky said.

The CDC document walks through new "communication challenges" as a result of breakthrough infections, along with the need to retool public health messaging to highlight vaccination as the best defense against the Delta variant.

The agency should "improve (the) public's understanding of breakthrough infections" and "improve communications around individual risk among vaccinated," it says.

Earlier Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a number of new steps his administration will take to try to get more Americans vaccinated, including requiring that all federal employees must attest to being vaccinated against Covid-19 or face strict protocols.

"This is an American tragedy.

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