COVID Delta variant: US warns Americans not to travel to the UK as it raises risk level to “very high”

CDC guidance

The US has risen the risk of traveling to the UK to its highest level, “very high”, and warned Americans not to travel there due to the pervasiveness of Delta.

In an update made today, as the UK lifted most Covid restrictions despite soaring infection rates, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the following guidance to US travellers to the UK:

Avoid travel to the United Kingdom.
If you must travel to the United Kingdom, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.
Because of the current situation in the United Kingdom, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants.
Travellers should follow recommendations or requirements in the United Kingdom, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

Global markets shaken by fears over Delta variant

European equities endure worst session of the year and US S&P 500 falls 1.6 per cent

The threat of the Delta coronavirus variant hit global equity markets on Monday, handing European bourses their worst session of the year and sending US stocks down 1.6 per cent. Commodity prices also fell and investors headed for the safe haven of government bonds. It helped to push the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its lowest level in six months, extending a shift in investor sentiment as fears over runaway inflation have given way to creeping concerns over the durability of US growth, compounded by the spread of the Delta variant. Europe’s region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 lost 2.3 per cent in its biggest one day price fall of 2021, with London’s FTSE 100 dropping by the same amount.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the S&P 500 index lost more than 2 per cent before moderating in afternoon trading to close 1.6 per cent lower. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite fell 1.1 per cent. In commodities, Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, declined 7.1 per cent to $68.38 a barrel.

Is Pfizer vaccine less effective against delta variant?

 Some health experts expressed skepticism about the Israel study

A study conducted in Israel found that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is somewhat less effective against the more infectious delta variant, though it was still found to be effective at preventing severe illness.The Pfizer vaccine protected 64 percent of immunized people during an outbreak of the delta variant, a sharp drop when compared to the 94 percent of people it had previously been shown to protect. However, the shot was still 94 percent effective at preventing severe illness, a slight decrease from the 97 percent that were kept from experiencing severe illness previously.

The data for the study was collected from June 6 through early July, according to officials from Israel’s Health Ministry. The data and the methodology of the study was not released, according to the Journal. Some health experts expressed skepticism about the Israel study, saying mRNA vaccines like Pfizer have been shown to offer strong protection against COVID-19 infection.

Israel says the Delta variant is infecting vaccinated people

 50% of cases. But they are less severe

As Israel is facing a surge in cases driven by the Delta variant, its health officials said as many as half of those are among people who were vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people who were in contact with the Delta variant will now have to quarantine, according to Chezy Levy, the leader of Israel’s Health Ministry’s director-general.

“Even though the numbers are low, the fact that this is reaching vaccinated people means…that we are still checking how many vaccinated people have also been infected,” Levy said, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

Talking with state broadcaster Kan Bet public radio, Levy said that approximately 40 to 50% of new cases were people who had been vaccinated. The figure is likely to be an estimate, as the ministry is still analyzing data about the cases. On Monday, Levy’s estimate was lower: he said only a third of the new daily cases were people who had been vaccinated.