According to the New York Times, citing internal CDC documents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have described the Delta variant of the coronavirus as contagious like chickenpox and potentially causing serious illness.
The report said the variant is also more likely to breach vaccine protection, adding that the agency took the opposite approach Tuesday to masking guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans, based on the document.
However, the report quoted experts as saying that CDC data shows that these vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death of vaccinated people.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky told The Times that new research shows that vaccinated people infected with the Delta strain carry a large amount of the virus in their nose and throat.
According to the report, Delta variants spread more easily than viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, seasonal flu and smallpox.
The report quoted the document saying that the agency’s next step is to “recognize that the war has changed”.
The New York Times said the CDC is expected to release more data on the variant on Friday.