The variant VUI-21-APR-01, per century Delta or Indian, from the area where it first emerged last spring, has already led to a contagion boom in the United Kingdom, where in the last bulletin they were reported 23,000 new cases, a record high since the end of January.
The fear now is that the variant – 60% more contagious than the English one – could lead to new waves even beyond the Channel, that is, in the heart of continental Europe. In recent weeks, several EU countries, from France to Germany, have implemented new restrictive policies to ease contacts with London, but according to experts there are already unequivocal signs about the high diffusion of the variant.
Delta variant, is it too late to stop it? What the experts say
Let’s look at the numbers. Last week, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the Delta variant now represents the 20% of Covid cases in the country, that is, approximately double compared to the previous survey. In Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute, it was around 36% of total cases between 15 and 20 June, + 15% on a weekly basis.
Both countries, in hindsight, are not experiencing an increase in infections. Germany is around 600 cases per day, like Italy, France just below the 2.000, that is, at the lows from the second wave. But it might just be a matter of time. And a counter-proof comes from Portugal, a country where it is estimated that about 90 % of infections now concerns the Delta variant, and where i new cases have tripled in June.
Of course, we must not overlook crucial scientific evidence, recently relaunched by a study conducted by Public Health England: both AstraZeneca and Pfizer serum guarantee a effective protection against this specific mutation of the virus, which is why the increase in infections – in the presence of a capillary vaccination campaign – does not necessarily have to follow a boom in hospitalizations or, worse, deaths.
The issue of vaccines
But that’s the point. Since a single dose is not enough to ensure immunity, and also given the two or three-speed vaccinations in the EU, the risk is that the Delta variant will be able to spread to all latitudes even before most vulnerable categories double shot is guaranteed.
Here too, the data helps us: in France, vaccinated with two doses are the 30%, in Germany on 36,6%, in Italy the 30,5%. In short, among the main European economies about 70% of the population still missing. And the same goes for Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden, where experts estimate that the Delta variant has now become the majority.