The bloc’s disease control agency on Wednesday noted that the Delta variant that was first identified in India could account for 90 percent of new Covid-19 cases in the European Union in the coming months.
Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in a statement, said, “It is very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer, particularly among younger individuals that are not targeted for vaccination.”
“The Delta variant is more transmissible than other circulating variants and we estimate that by the end of August it will represent 90 percent” of new cases in the EU, she added.
According to ECDC’s estimation, Delta variant (B.1.617.2), is 40 to 60 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) that was first discovered in the UK which is currently the principal variant of the novel coronavirus circulating in the EU.
“70 percent of new SARS-CoV-2 infections are projected to be due to this variant in the EU/EEA by early August and 90 percent of infections by the end of August,” said the agency.
It is very important to develop the vaccine and start the roll-out at a very high pace in order to stop the spread of the variant and to mitigate the health impact said the ECDC.
“At this stage it becomes crucial that the second vaccination dose is administered within the minimum authorised interval from the first dose, to speed up the rate at which vulnerable individuals become protected,” Ammon said.
According to the ECDC, about 30 percent of the over-80s and some 40 percent of the over-60s in the EU are still not fully vaccinated to date.
To limit the spread of this virus the ECDC is also requesting countries to be cautious about relaxing curbs.
“Any relaxation over the summer months of the stringency of non-pharmaceutical measures that were in place in the EU/EEA in early June could lead to a fast and significant increase in daily cases in all age groups,” the agency said.
This increase could, in turn, lead to a rise in “hospitalisations, and deaths, potentially reaching the same levels of the autumn of 2020 if no additional measure are taken,” it added.