The Delta variant will account for 90% of new COVID-19 cases in Europe by the end of August

The Delta variant, first detected in India, could be responsible for 90% of new coronavirus infections in Europe by the end of August, the EU disease control agency reported on Wednesday.

“Based on the estimated transmission advantage of the Delta variant and using modeling forecasts, 70% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections are predicted to be due to this variant in the EU / EEA in early August. and 90% of infections by the end of August, “said the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in its periodic threat assessment report.

The variant, which first originated in India, has been declared “worrisome” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has now spread to more than 60 countries around the world. It is estimated to be between 40 and 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, first detected in England.

It may also be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization, and data indicate that people who have received only one dose in a two-dose vaccination cycle are less protected against it than against any other variant, regardless of the type of vaccine. However, full vaccination provides almost equivalent protection against the Delta variant.

In the UK, the Delta variant is already behind more than 90% of new COVID cases and has led to an increase in infections despite the high vaccination rate. This has forced the government to delay the planned easing of restrictions in England for four weeks.

European Member States have tightened border controls for travelers from India and the UK as a result of the variant.

The ECDC cautioned that since cousin-vaccinated people are less protected against it, “the Delta variant is likely to circulate widely during the summer, especially among younger individuals who are not vaccinated.”

“This could put the most vulnerable individuals at risk of becoming infected and experiencing serious illness and death if they are not vaccinated,” he added.

The ECDC modeling scenarios indicate that any relaxation during the summer months of the stringency of the non-pharmaceutical measures that were in place in the EU / EEA in early June could lead to a rapid and significant increase in daily cases in all groups. old.

Those over 50 would be hit the hardest, “with an associated increase in hospitalizations, and deaths, potentially reaching the same fall 2020 levels if no further action is taken,” the ECDC said.

Several Member States have lifted some restrictions in the last two weeks. France lifted the night curfew on Sunday, days after lifting the requirement to wear a mask outdoors. Spain will do the same on June 26.

Boris Johnson “missed” the flexibility of the closure by letting the Delta variant enter, according to Starmer

Bars and restaurants have reopened in most Member States, at least abroad, while fully vaccinated travelers from several third countries can re-enter some nations of the bloc.

ECDC Director Dr. Andrea Ammon also stressed that “it is very important to move forward with the implementation of the vaccine at a very high rate.”

“In this phase it is crucial that the second dose of vaccination is administered in the minimum authorized interval from the first dose, to accelerate the rate of protection of vulnerable people,” he continued.

According to the ECDC, more than 57% of adults in the EU / EEA have so far received at least one dose of the different vaccines. More than a third have received a full course of vaccination.

However, about 30% of individuals older than 80 years and about 40% of those older than 60 years have not yet received a full course of vaccination.