NORFOLK, Va. — A new report from the CDC says the Delta variant almost acts like a different virus that is as contagious as chickenpox and more transmissible than the common cold.
The agency says the “war has changed” against COVID-19 according to an internal report obtained by ABC News.
“This is an incredibly, incredibly contagious version of the virus. It's almost like a whole different virus,” says Dr. Ashish Jha, with Brown University’s School of Public Health.
Not only that, but vaccinated people may spread it as easily as the unvaccinated.
Earlier this week, the CDC released new guidelines for people who have gotten the shot who may have been exposed to the virus. If you are vaccinated and you think you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, they recommend getting tested three to five days after exposure.
They also recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after that exposure or until you get a negative test result.
If the test comes back positive, you still need to isolate yourself.
It’s important to remember, the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing death and hospitalization, but you could still pass the infection on to someone else.
“The thing with the Delta variant is it's more than twice as contagious as a previous experience that we've encountered, but also causes increases in the severity of illness, especially those who are unvaccinated," says Jerry Tucker, Chesapeake’s Health Department Emergency Coordinator.
So far, 54 percent of Virginians are fully vaccinated.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warns the vaccines are needed now to stop the variant from spreading even more.
“The big concern is that the next variant that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines,” she says.
Remember, breakthrough infections are still rare, even with the Delta variant.
In Virginia, about 1,500 people who have been vaccinated have gotten the virus. That’s less than one percent.