The Delta variant

By Kevin Roche

Okay, first, due to government incompetence and deviousness (usually more of the former), no one trusts anything it says any more and every little announcement is treated like some conspiracy theory.  All the diagnostic tests, including PCR tests, for CV-19 received emergency FDA authorization.  Now a bunch have received full approval, so the FDA is withdrawing emergency authorization for any PCR tests that haven’t gotten their full approval.  Several people have emailed and Twitter is making like this is a rejection of PCR testing.  Purely administrative and has nothing to do with the merits of PCR testing.  As readers know, I believe the way PCR tests and results have been used is a big problem, but the FDA action has nothing to do with that.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Here is my summary of the latest UK Public Health agency review of variants. (UK Review)  People are using this review and sketchy math to claim that the vaccines aren’t working. And others are using it to support Delta terrorism.  What the latest technical brief actually shows is that Delta does not have the same case rate of serious outcomes that previous strains did and that it is likely only slightly more transmissible, if that. I don’t know where anyone gets the notion that it is two to three times more transmissible, which is what some “experts” are saying.

Almost all cases in the UK are now Delta, so they have a good base of data.  If you look at table 4, you will see that the case hospitalization rate for Delta appears to be half that of B117 or Alpha, the prior dominant (and terrorizing) variant, and the death rate is a fifth.  Now more Delta cases are likely to be among the vaxed, so that probably is a partial factor in the lower rates, but that would only show that vaccines are working, even against this horrific, terrifying Delta variant.  And while a large number of Delta cases appear to be occurring in the vaxed, the way the data table is set up it is hard to actually tell, because they don’t have a fully vaccinated column, only a “received two doses” one.  Looking at table 6, we see that the secondary attack rate is only slightly higher for Delta than for Alpha, whether among household or non-household contacts.

So I am not buying that Delta is way more transmissible or that it leads to more serious illness.