The spread of COVID-19 in June 2021 — both in the U.S. and around the world — dropped to the lowest levels in a year. But in July, cases spiked again, largely because of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
First identified in India in late 2020, data suggests the Delta variant is more contagious and can cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people than previous strains of COVID-19. The variant has been found in more than 130 countries. In some of these nations, only a handful of cases of the Delta variant have been found. In others, it has infected thousands residents.
To determine the countries where the Delta variant of COVID-19 is most widespread, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the GISAID Initiative, a platform where health professionals and researchers can share data and research on influenza viruses. Data is current as of Aug. 23, 2021.
Of the eight countries with over 10,000 confirmed cases of people who are infected with the Delta variant, six are in Europe. In each of these countries, the variant accounts for well over half of recorded infections throughout the past four weeks.
As the Delta variant has spread, infections in vaccinated individuals, or breakthrough infections, have become more common. However, the greatest risk from the variant still lies with the unvaccinated, as they are more likely to contract and transmit the virus, as well as to suffer serious health issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that for those who are vaccinated, the vaccine “provides the best protection against serious illness and death..” However, despite the widespread availability of the vaccine in the U.S. there are still states where more than one in five people who are eligible to be vaccinated remain unvaccinated. These are the states where the most people are refusing the vaccine.