Covid-19 Delta Variant Threatens to Set Back Europe’s Recovery
The Delta variant of Covid-19 is spreading across continental Europe, increasing the risk of a rebound in infections and subsequent delay to the region’s economic recovery. The variant was first discovered in India late last year. The Delta variant’s spread has prompted Portugal to seal off its capital city of Lisbon on the weekends. Scientists in Germany estimate that the Delta variant will make up the majority of Covid-19 infections in the coming months. In France and Italy, the prevalence of the variant remains low, at 5%, however, this figure has doubled in recent weeks.
Public health experts also expect that the Delta variant will become the dominant strain in the US within the next several months whereas, in the UK, the Delta strain is already dominant. Scientists estimate that the variant is between 40% and 80% more transmissible than previous variants such as the Alpha variant that was first spotted in the UK. Although this strain is more infectious than other variants, fully vaccinated individuals remain well protected against getting sick. Although UK infections of the Delta strain have risen dramatically in recent weeks, the number of deaths has remained steady.