Washington DC, USA, Wed., June 30, 2021– The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, which has been spreading across the globe and is reportedly more deadly and more transmissible than other variants of the virus, was specifically addressed in the latest press briefing of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). The variant was initially identified in India back in December 2020. It had later been detected in the Americas around March 2021. There remain a lot of concerns regarding this variant, for it continues to surge in European states and has also been identified as the most predominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, accounting for nearly 40% of positive COVID-19 test samples.
Notably, this virus has also been recorded in the Caribbean and Latin American region; however, it has not been as widespread in the region as it is proving to be in the United States and Europe. Dr. Jairo Mendez, Emerging Variants Specialist, stated at the press briefing, “The Delta variant has been detected in our region; however to this point, it has been mainly linked to cases of travelers, and community transmission continues to be limited; whereas there are other variants which are the ones that are more widespread. It's hard to predict what will be the impact of the Delta variant in our region. Variants such as Alpha, which has a high level of transmission, entered our region and they predominated just in a transient manner in some countries, and they were rapidly replaced by others such as Gamma or the Lambda.”
The variant in question has also been reported in our neighbor to the north, Mexico. During the weekly press briefing, Dr. Mendez noted that due to Mexico’s solid surveillance networks, it has been able to detect over 15 variants circulating throughout the country. It has been reported that the Delta variant has been recorded in three Mexican states thus far — Quintana Roo, Baja California and Mexico City, with the variant being most widespread in Mexico City. While it has not yet been confirmed, Belize has also identified a variant that is speculated to be the Delta variant. This is expected to be confirmed on Friday, June 2, following gene sequencing exercises at Baylor College.
Despite the issue of variants, the Pan American Health Organization’s position remains the
same in addressing the spread of COVID-19. PAHO asserts that existing public health measures are focused on reducing transmission, regardless of which variant is circulating. According to PAHO experts, the existing safety measures have proven to be effective. These recommendations include the wearing of masks, proper sanitization, social distancing and vaccinations.