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Delta Variant of COVID-19 Spreads in Seconds, Chinese Government Says

Arvind Datta
Arvind is a recluse who prefers staying far away from the limelight as possible. Be that as it may, he keeps a close eye on what's happening and reports on it to keep people rightly informed.
Published: July 8, 2021
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Chinese passengers, bound for Shenzhen, China, wearing personal protective equipments (PPE) against Covid-19 queue to get on a plane at the Sukarno Hatta international airport in Tangerang on June 8, 2021. (Image: ADEK BERRY/AFP via Getty Images)

China is facing an outbreak of Delta variant COVID-19 infections in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Dongguan. According to an official report released on June 21, the Delta variant spreads extremely quickly, supposedly in mere seconds. In one incident of transmission, the Delta virus transferred from a host to an uninfected person in just 14 seconds, which is the shortest contact time recorded so far in the pandemic.

“The third-generation Delta virus carrier, Huang, and the fourth-generation Delta virus carrier, Lu, ate separately in the same restaurant on the same day and entered the same bathroom. They passed by each other at the entrance corridor of the bathroom and spent only 14 seconds in the same environment. There was no physical contact between the two parties, and one of them was not wearing a mask,” reports The Epoch Times.

Spread of the Delta variant puts further pressure on the Yantian International Container Terminal which had remained closed for several weeks starting May 21. Yantian is the third-largest cargo port in the world. The temporary closure interrupted the transport of shipments all over the world. Ships waiting for cargo to Europe and North America were forced to berth outside Hong Kong and Shenzhen as it took up to 16 days to dock at the Yantian port.

Yantian backlog is “adding extra disruption on an already stressed out global supply chain, including the significant seaborne leg of it… [People] may not find all they were looking for on the shelves when shopping for Christmas presents later in the year,” Peter Sand told CNN. He is the chief shipping analyst for Bimco, an association of shipowners.

Yantian resumed operations on June 24. However, 750,000 20-foot containers had accumulated due to the port closure and delays. The container buildup is estimated to take 82 days to clear up. Any mass spread of the Delta variant would make matters worse since the port might be forced to close, disrupting shipping logistics once again.

Outbreak of the Delta variant has also impacted communist China’s factory activity. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.3 in June from 52 in May, below analyst expectations of 51.8. Output growth is the lowest in 15 months. The growth in new orders has fallen to a three-month low.

A recent Delta variant breakout was reported from the Chinese border city of Ruili in the southwest province of Yunnan which is close to Myanmar. The government closed off the main point of entry into Ruili on July 5 and imposed travel restrictions. 

“The whole [of] Caiyuncheng is blocked… All stores are closed, but the authorities did not explain the reasons,” a shop owner told The Epoch Times on July 5.

Photo taken on Sept. 16, 2020 shows the night view of Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province. (Image: Mao Siqian/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Mao Siqian via Getty Images)

US situation, low vaccine efficacy

In the United States, the Delta variant has become the dominant strain according to a report by Politico. A spokesperson for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the proportion of Delta variants among infected people rose from 30.4 percent in the week ending June 19 to 51.7 percent in the week ending July 3. Between June 20 and July 3, over 80 percent of infections in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas were from the Delta variant.

Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, stated that communities will have to do more testing and contact tracing as the Delta variant continues to spread. 

“This is a really formidable variant, and we’re already seeing in multiple states that cases are going up — even as much as more than doubling in the recent two weeks — and hospitalizations are going up in those states,” Topol said.

A study conducted of over 100 healthcare workers in India found that “in vitro, the Delta variant shows 8 fold approximately reduced sensitivity to vaccine-elicited antibodies.” Across all scenarios, the study found that the Delta variant was more transmissible and had a better ability to evade immunity elicited by previous infections.

“This is a straight eye-opener to the fully vaccinated people that you cannot lower guard in the name of vaccination. The virus is on the prowl, still looking for its prey. This mutant has come back with enhanced spike proteins for attachment to the lung epithelial cells which have provided it with a much higher capacity to infect many more people than the Wuhan strain,” Dr. Chand Wattal said. He is the chairperson of the Institute of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, SGRH.