Delta Variant Gives Rise to New Cases

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Recommendations for Industry

Delta Variant Gives Rise to New Cases

Although COVID cases had been declining, we are beginning to see a rapid increase in the percentage of cases related to the Delta variant (B.1.617.V2 – first identified in India). Last week, Delta caused more than 90% of the new COVID-19 cases in the UK and has increased in the U.S. from 2.7% on May 22 to 10% by June 16, with even higher rates in some states.

The Delta variant has also been shown to have a 60% higher infectivity rate (but no increase in mortality), and as causing a five times higher rate of positivity in youth than in seniors.  Additionally, prior immunity – from vaccination of COVID-19 infection – provides less protection against Delta that the originating strain.

As noted in key points (above), unvaccinated individuals are at higher risk, so states with lower vaccination rates like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wyoming, have populations who are at higher risk as less than 35% of individuals are fully vaccinated.

There have been some positive general health outcomes with the pandemic, however, as people are taking more ownership of their health, seeing a better connection with their daily behavior, and have become overall more aware of infectious disease risks and protections. 

It is this awareness that businesses can use to assist in continuing and/or building their worker protections plans. We know that workplace communicable and infectious diseases can of critical risk – and challenge – particularly in the food industry, but the expertise gained during the pandemic can be strategically applied to help protect workers and businesses to a greater extent than ever before.

In Case You Missed It

  • In Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we reviewed TAG’s weekly COVID Risk Matrix and its indications.
  • COVID-19 cases have risen slightly over the past week (although deaths and hospitalizations have dropped). While vaccination rates have increased slightly; minority population vaccination rates differ from those of White and Asian-Americans.
  • Vermont is the leading state for vaccination with 80% of residents >12 years of age at least partially vaccinated.
  • A new study published in Nature has found that (as reported by COVID Act Now) “for each 20 percentage points of people who are vaccinated in a given community, the proportion of unvaccinated people in that community who test positive for COVID decreases in half. These numbers mean that vaccination protects not only vaccinated people, but also unvaccinated people.”
  • Through July 4th, the CDC has declared this month to be the National Vaccine Month of Action through the “We Can Do This Campaign” to mobilize national organizations, community-based partners, influencers, celebrities, athletes, and thousands of volunteers across the nation to empower their communities and get more people vaccinated. Find out more
  • The Delta Variant is likely to become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S. (and elsewhere).

Public Health & Food Safety:

  • A recent Princeton discussion breaks down the need to better understand “wet markets” (without shuttering them all as it would disrupt the food system supply chain) to safeguard human health and biodiversity.
  • Report shows reasons for concern about animal operations near produce – In a new report, the FDA continues to express concerns about farm animal operations close by and adjacent to produce growing fields, specifically peach orchards this time. The report, released June 11, outlines data from an investigation into a 2020 Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak linked to whole fresh peaches that sickened 101 people across 17 states, including 28 hospitalizations. It appears to be the first time a Salmonella outbreak has been linked to peaches, according to federal health officials.
  • Both the WHO and FAO are highlighting the importance of science and technology in ensuring and continuing to build food safety efforts.