Delta variant doubles hospitalization risk, study suggests

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People infected by the delta coronavirus variant have twice the risk of hospitalization of people infected with the alpha variant first identified in the U.K., according to research from Scotland published June 14 in The Lancet.

Researchers analyzed community testing data for 5.4 million people in Scotland between April 1 and June 6. Of 377 people hospitalized for COVID-19 during this time period, 134 were infected with the delta variant first detected in India.

"Risk of COVID-19 hospital admission was approximately doubled in those with the Delta [variant of concern] when compared to the Alpha [variant of concern], with risk of admission particularly increased in those with five or more relevant comorbidities," researchers wrote. 

Pfizer and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines were effective at reducing the risk of infection and hospitalization in people with the delta variant. Pfizer's vaccine was 79 percent effective against the delta variant, compared to 92 percent against the alpha variant two weeks after the first dose.

The delta variant accounts for about 75 percent of all positive cases in Scotland, according to Politico. Based on an analysis of specimens collected in the two weeks ending June 5, the CDC estimates the variant comprises about 6 percent of all cases in the U.S.

To view the full study, click here.

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