The Delta Plus variant has been reported in 85 countries and continues to be detected in more places around the world, said World Health Organization (WHO) warning that it is expected to become a “dominant lineage” if current trends continue.
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update released on June 22 by WHO said that globally, the Alpha variant has been reported in 170 countries, territories or areas, Beta in 119 countries, Gamma in 71 countries and Delta in 85 countries.
The weekly update said, “Delta Plus now reported in 85 countries globally, continues to be reported in new countries across all WHO Regions, 11 of which were newly reported in the past two weeks.”
The WHO said the four current ‘Variants of Concern’ being monitored closely – Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta – are widespread and have been detected in all WHO regions.
“The Delta Plus variant is significantly more transmissible than Alpha variant, and is expected to become a dominant lineage if current trends continue.”
The update said that India reported the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases, 441,976 over the past week (June 14-20, 2021), a 30 percent decrease as compared to the previous week. The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from India (16,329 new deaths; 1.2 new deaths per 100,000; a 31 percent decrease).
The South-East Asia Region reported over 600,000 new cases and over 19,000 new deaths, a 21 per cent and a 26 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.
“Decreasing trends in the weekly case and death incidence in the Region are predominantly associated with decreases reported in India,” the update said.
WHO noted that since the last detailed update on June 8, new evidence has been published on the phenotypic characteristics of the Delta variant. “A study from Singapore showed that infection with Delta variant was associated with higher odds of oxygen requirement, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, or death,” it said.
Further, a study in Japan “estimating the relative instantaneous reproductive number (a measure of transmission at a specific point in time) showed that the Delta variant was associated with greater transmissibility” when compared to the Alpha variant.
“When compared with the variants circulating in Japan before December 2020, the relative instantaneous reproduction number for Alpha was estimated to be at 1.56 and for Delta 1.78. Overall, this study showed Delta was associated with 1.23 times higher transmissibility than Alpha,” the update said.