Delta Covid Variant Believed To Have 60% Transmission Advant
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The Delta coronavirus variant of concern, first identified in India, is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in Britain, a prominent UK epidemiologist said.

Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London told that estimates of Delta's transmission edge over Alpha had narrowed, and we think 60% is probably the best estimate. He said that modelling suggested any third wave of infections could rival Britain's second wave in the winter - which was fuelled by the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, south east England.

But it was unclear how any spike in hospitalisations would translate into a rise in deaths, as more detail was needed on how well the vaccine protects against serious illness from Delta. "It's well within possibility that we could see another third wave at least comparable in terms of hospitalisations," he said. "I think deaths probably would be lower, the vaccines are having a highly protective effect, still it could be quite worrying. But there is a lot of uncertainty."

Britain has seen over 127,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, but has given more than three-quarters of adults a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Ferguson said that up to a quarter of the Delta variant's transmissibility edge over Alpha might come from its immune escape from vaccines, saying it was "a contribution but not an overwhelming contribution" to its advantage.