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The Delta Variant: What scientists know

First identified in India, Delta is one of several “variants of concern,” as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

June 30, 2021 / 07:34 PM IST

By Emily Anthes

The supercontagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is now responsible for about 1 in every 5 COVID-19 cases in the United States, health officials said last week, and its prevalence had doubled in the two weeks before the briefing, they said.

First identified in India, Delta is one of several “variants of concern,” as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. It has spread rapidly through India and Britain.

Its appearance in the United States is not surprising. And with vaccinations ticking up and COVID-19 case numbers falling, it’s unclear how much of a problem Delta will cause here. Still, its swift rise has prompted concerns that it might jeopardize the nation’s progress in beating back the pandemic.