The Delta COVID-19 variant is expected to become the dominant strain of the virus over the coming months, WHO said.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has now been recorded in 124 territories – 13 more than last week. It already accounts for more than three-quarters of sequenced specimens in many major countries, the WHO said.
U.S. cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, U.S. CDC Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said, adding that 97% of people entering hospitals in the United States with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
The Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the original variant of COVID-19, has been detected in around 100 countries globally and is now the dominant variant worldwide, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said.
“We are dealing with a formidable variant” of COVID-19, Fauci said.
The organization said the global increases in transmission appeared to be driven by four factors: More transmissible variants; the relaxation of public health measures; increased social mixing and large numbers of unvaccinated people.
According to SARS-CoV-2 sequences submitted to the GISAID global science initiative over the four weeks to Jul 20, the prevalence of Delta exceeded 75 percent in several countries.
Those included Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Britain, China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Indonesia (350,273 new cases; up 44 percent), Britain (296,447 new cases; up 41 percent), and Brazil (287,610 new cases; down 14 percent).