In an internal U.S. report released on Friday by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experts state that the COVID-19 Delta variant is more transmissible than the common cold, seasonal flu, and smallpox, and just as contagious as chickenpox. The New York Times was among several news outlets to obtain a copy of the internal document and reported that while CDC experts have publicly claimed that transmission of the Delta variant is rare among those who are vaccinated, internally "scientists have suggested it may be more common than once thought."
According to the documents' findings, the CDC says that the Delta variant, specifically, is more transmittable than any other known versions of the virus, and as contagious as chickenpox, citing numerous "breakthrough" infection cases. "I think people need to understand that we're not crying wolf here. This is serious," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN. "It's one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they're all up there."
So, what does this all mean for us in Australia? If you're vaccinated, you're still best protected from COVID and the Delta variant. It does not mean you're completely immune, but even if you do contract the Delta variant, you are less likely to end up hospitalised as a result. However, it also means being more vigilant as a result of others not taking the COVID and its variants seriously.
In Australia, 12,317,727 COVID-19 vaccines doses had been administered as of August 1. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 70% of the adult population needs to be fully vaccinated before the country progresses to Phase B of the COVID-19 recovery roadmap. Phase B would involve low-level restrictions, international arrivals cap to be restored to previous levels for unvaccinated travellers, and new reduced quarantine arrangements.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is more readily available in Australia than the Pfizer jab. Last week the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised that in response to the NSW outbreak, "All individuals aged 18 years and above in greater Sydney, including adults under 60 years of age, should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine including COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca."
"If you want to get vaccinated, the AZ vaccine is there for you, it is a highly effective vaccine, as we've seen all around the world," the PM said last Friday. "It's how the United Kingdom have got to their 70% substantially and so many other countries as well, but it is the most recognised COVID-19 vaccine in the world, and it is there and available to boost the vaccination efforts right across the country."