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In several countries of the world it has already become prevalent, while in others it is starting to spread. Some episodes in Australia cause concern about how the Delta variant will be broadcast

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The Delta variant of Sars-Cov-2, with its greater contagiousness, seems destined in a short time to become the predominant variant worldwide, as has already happened in the United Kingdom. If in countries where the prevalence of this variant still seems under control (remember that in Italy, according to the latest bulletin of the Higher Institute of Health it is equal to 16.8% of infections, with an increasing trend) is preparing to face it, the news coming from other states about the Delta's transmission methods arouse apprehension. In particular in Australia, the health authorities speak of the risk of contagion even in the event of "fleeting encounters". Let's see better why, in reality, the transmission of the coronavirus would always seem the same.

Identified for the first time in India, the Delta (also known as B.1.617.2) is one of several variants of concern, designated by the WHO. Spreading rapidly in India and the UK, it now poses a threat to other countries, particularly in places where vaccination rates remain low. According to Public Health England (Phe), Delta became the predominant variant in the UK at the end of May, supplanting the Alpha variant, and a pre-print study (which has not yet been peer-reviewed) would confirm this trend as well. in the United States of America. Also according to the PHE, Delta would have, compared to Alfa, a 40-60% greater ability to be transmitted from person to person and would increase the risk of developing Covid-19 in a serious manner by 2.5%. All the countries that have not yet been affected by the spread of this variant are preparing, especially by accelerating the vaccination campaign: several studies, in fact, suggest that, while Delta is quite resistant to a single dose of vaccine, the complete vaccination cycle would seem to offer a effective protection also against this variant.

What is happening in Australia

In Australia, four of the eight capitals are now in lockdown due to the Delta variant, while health authorities try to contain the spread of the virus. In particular, the premier of the Australian state of New South Wales, Gladys Berijiklia, described the encounters that led to the spread of Delta in Sydney as "frighteningly fleeting". The Australian Ministry of Health, in fact, came into possession of a shot taken by a CCTV camera in the Bondi Junction Westfield shopping center, in which two people, who later tested positive for the Delta variant, briefly crossed paths. According to the website of the Australian Ministry of Health, from June 16, 2021, when the first positive for the Delta variant was identified, 160 cases belonging to the so-called Bondi cluster have been identified to date. What worries the most, however, is how the virus spread. “In one tape, we actually have the recording of the encounter and it's basically a crossbreed of two people,” State Health Director Kerry Chant told “They are clearly facing each other, but it's literally about two people crossing momentarily. Close, but for a moment. ”

Queensland medical director Jeannette Young announced that the state would close its borders to people from Sydney's Delta variant hotspots. "With the Delta variant, we are seeing very fleeting contacts leading to the transmission," Young told the Guardian. “At the start of this pandemic, I stated that 15 minutes of close contact could be a concern. Now it seems like 5 to 10 seconds are worrying. The risk is much higher now than it was just a year ago ”. What would emerge from the cases of the Bondi cluster and from the statements of the Australian health authorities, therefore, would be a concern regarding the methods of transmission of the Delta variant, which would take place through aerosol and with a shorter exposure time. This, however, has not yet been detected by any study.

Hassan Vally, associate professor at La Trobe University, stressed to the Guardian that although the Delta variant is more contagious, the Sars-Cov- strain is also more contagious. Original 2 could be transmitted through fleeting contact. WHO made it official in April 2021, but already before several evidences supported the transmission both through droplets (small liquid particles emitted when coughing, sneezing, talking, singing or simply breathing), and, through the aerosol, in poorly ventilated or crowded enclosed environments, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. For example a shopping mall like Bondi Junction Westfield. "The variant is a little more transmissible, but it behaves in the same way as the original virus," continues Vally. "All the same behavioral interventions should work against this variant of the virus if they worked against the original." And therefore: distancing, masks especially in closed places, and speeding up the vaccination run.

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Coronavirus Variants Sars-Cov-2 globalData.fldTopic = "Coronavirus, Sars-Cov-2 Variants"

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