The Delta variant is on its way to becoming globally dominant, WHO chief scientist says

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Courtesy: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

(CNN) — The Delta variant is on its way to becoming the globally dominant coronavirus variant, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organization, said during a news briefing in Geneva today.

“The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility,” said Swaminathan.

According to the WHO’s weekly epidemiological report released Tuesday, 80 countries have reported the Delta variant.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday she anticipates that the Delta variant will become the dominant strain in the United States.

About the Delta variant: Officially the B.1.617.2 variant, it was first detected in India in February and has now spread across the globe. Some fear it could overwhelm health care systems and reverse reopening plans before vaccinations take hold.

It is also more contagious — perhaps 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was responsible for a surge in Michigan this spring.

But remember: People who are fully vaccinated seem to have good protection against it. Those who have gotten only one shot of a two-dose vaccine do not.

Read more updates here