More transmissible than ebola, smallpox, and the Spanish flu — CDC on the Delta variant

• An internal document from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox.
• The Delta variant is more transmissible than Ebola, common cold, seasonal flu, and other infectious diseases.
• The CDC is calling for vaccine mandates and universal mask-wearing.

The Delta variant appears to be more serious than we imagined and can spread as easily as chickenpox, according to reports.

An unpublished, internal document from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims the Delta variant is highly contagious, may cause more severe disease than other variants, and breakthrough infections (in vaccinated people) may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases.

The document, which appears as a slideshow and was first obtained by the Washington Post, comes after the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks in public indoor places, just two months after it said mask-wearing wasn’t necessary for those that are vaccinated.

The Delta variant’s surge has now caused offices to delay their reopening and companies are now requiring workers to get the jab upon arriving back to the office.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed  in an interview with CNN that the document is real.

“I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious,” she told the outlet. “It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there.”

What you need to know about the Delta variant

According to the slideshow, the Delta variant is more transmissible than several other infectious diseases, including MERS & Sars, and 1918 “Spanish” flu, and smallpox. It said it was as transmissible as chickenpox, a viral infection that is extremely contagious and that causes fever and an itchy rash, especially in children under age 12.

As of Thursday, there were 71,000 new cases per day on average in the US, with vaccinated people spreading the virus, according to The New York Times.

The Delta variant, which quickly became the alpha strain of COVID in the US, has cases rising in every state but one over the past seven days, according to data from John Hopkins University.

The CDC said its next step is to “acknowledge the war has changed,” according to the slideshow. It is recommending vaccine mandates and universal masking.

The mask mandate, which was introduced on Tuesday, applies to people living in areas that have had 50 or more new infections per 100,000 residents over the past week.

The agency also recommended universal mask wearing for teachers, staff, students, and visitors in schools, regardless of their vaccination status or transmission rates of the virus in each district.

Not everyone is going to follow the recommendation.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will sign an executive order making face masks optional in schools across the states, leaving it up to parents to decide in an effort of “protecting the rights of parents.”

“We want to be able to choose, and we want to be able to teach our children without our faces covered,” he said at a news conference on Friday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state will follow the CDC’s recommendation and require anyone older than two-years-old who enters a school building to wear masks when students return to classrooms in the fall.