Dangerous Delta COVID-19 Variant Infecting Vaccinated Adults In Israel

by Joseph K. Clark

In an alarming new development, the particularly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 has infected some fully vaccinated adults in Israel, officials there have reported. Of more than 100 daily cases amid an outbreak of the delta variant, half were children younger than 16., The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. According to Dr. Ran Balicer, head of a COVID-19 advisory advisor panel on COVID-19 for the Israeli government, most of them hadn’t yet been vaccinated.

But half of the adults infected had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, Balicer said. The Journal reported that about 90% of the new infections in Israel were likely caused by the delta variant.

— Ran Balicer (@RanBalicer) June 24, 2021

Spurred by the new information, the Israeli government has reimposed an indoor mask mandate and quickly expanded its vaccination program to include children ages 12 to 15.

The World Health Organization on Friday also warned everyone, even those fully vaccinated, to “play it safe” and continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing in light of the large numbers of people who remain unvaccinated and the emergence of the delta variant, which is called the “most transmissible” form of the coronavirus identified to date.


“People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, said at a news briefing in Geneva. “Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission.” “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, [use] hand hygiene … [practice] physical distance, avoid crowding.”

Israel also announced this week that it would delay by a month — to Aug. 1 — its plan to allow individual tourists to enter the country again, Agence France-Presse reported. The precautions are necessary because the delta variant has “changed the transmission dynamics,” warned Balicer.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier this week that the “goal is primarily to protect Israelis from the delta variant rampaging worldwide. We’ve decided to act as early as possible not to pay a higher price down the road.”

Israel’s aggressive vaccination program has kept cases and deaths low. At the peak of the nation’s outbreak in January, Israel was recording about 10,000 daily points. But new topics jumped to 200 on Thursday, up from 10 patients daily for much of the month.

Until now, most health officials have downplayed the delta variant’s threat to vaccinated people. Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are currently among unvaccinated people.

Chief White House medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the delta variant will soon be the dominant form of the coronavirus in the U.S. Still, he emphasized that the danger is to those not yet vaccinated.

“It’s the unvaccinated people that we’re concerned about,” Fauci said in an interview Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show. “They’ve got to start paying attention to it now because if they’re unvaccinated, they’re at risk.”

First found in India, the delta variant contributed to an outbreak that killed hundreds of thousands of people. It currently makes up about 20% of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in the U.S. The delta strain is more transmissible and linked to more severe diseases than the current alpha strain that is dominant in America.

Suppose the delta variant is allowed to spread through unvaccinated people. Experts warn that there’s a heightened risk of severe illness and a chance it could mutate and form yet another deadly new variant that could be less affected or even unaffected by current vaccines. “The delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19,” Fauci said. The variant has now been detected in more than 85 countries.

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