The specialists are clear about it. The Indian variant of the coronavirus is here to stay. Forecasts from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control predict that Delta, more contagious than other SARS-CoV-2 mutations, will account for 90% of cases in the European Union by the end of August.

The United Kingdom and Portugal are the neighboring countries with the highest rate of this variant. In Portugal and in just one month it has gone from accounting for 4% of infections to 55.6%, and the worst hit area in the country is Alentejo, according to an epidemiological investigation released this Tuesday.

Delta advances in the neighboring country as infections increase. On Monday, about a thousand new cases were registered, with special incidence in Lisbon and the Algarve, where the Government has closed schools in five municipalities to stop the advance of the disease.

In France, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, explained this Tuesday that Delta already accounts for 20% of COVID cases and that it is on its way to becoming the dominant one in the country.

The prevalence of the Indian variant in Spain has risen to 10% compared to 4% a week ago. “It will be important to know how present the macro outbreak is in Mallorca. If the numbers of infections and the incidence increase, the risk of complications is higher. We do not know exactly how long the vaccine will protect and there are groups of population, such as health workers and the elderly, who received the vaccine in January “, indicates Marcos Lopez, President of the Spanish Society of Immunology.

How is Delta affecting cases and hospitalizations?

There are three fundamental aspects of this variant that have set off alarms among European health authorities. The first thing is that it is more infective, up to 8% compared to 3% of the most common now, which is the British.

The second, that it is a little more aggressive than its predecessor. Preliminary data from ongoing studies indicate that Delta increases the number of hospitalizations, but there are no conclusive indicators of mortality. The third aspect of concern is the fact that vaccines lose some protection, between 10 and 15%, against Delta.

For now, the behavior of the Indian variant is changing. If in Spain their arrival coincides with the increase in incidence that already exceeds 100 points, in France the rate continues to decline, since it is currently at 18.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days.

The behavior, therefore, is uneven. Galica’s proximity to Portugal makes expansion more easy. The virologist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Carlos Pereira, warns that Delta can create a spike in infections similar to the one experienced in the health area of ​​A Coruña in autumn.

Vaccine protection against Delta and the importance of the mask

“Fortunately now we have in Spain a problem more epidemiological than health, but with the incidence figures on the rise and the increase in infections, the outlook is not the best. We must continue to be very cautious in our habits,” insists Marcos López .

The immunologist asks the public to maintain the effective measures that we already know to avoid contagion as much as possible and insists on the importance of the proper use of the mask: “We must continue to tell people that the masks must be worn and that they are remove only when they are completely safe. “

The prevalence of Delta in Europe, estimated for August, will coincide with 70% of the vaccinated population in Spain, according to government forecasts. It will be an unprecedented situation in a pandemic that has lasted for about a year and a half throughout the world and whose end is yet to come.

Fernando Simón: “You have to be very careful with the Delta variant.” / ATLAS

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