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Virus Expert Issues Startling Reality Check

The Delta variant is “maybe the most contagious virus that we've ever seen in living memory.” 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The warnings from COVID-19 experts are getting louder and more blunt: The Delta variant is basically a whole new threat, one far more transmissible than the viruses before it. Possibly any virus ever before it. Be warned. With this in mind, Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who, says CNBC, "was part of the World Health Organization's team that helped eradicate smallpox," spoke to the network and said the delta variant is "maybe the most contagious virus" ever. Read on for his five life-saving pieces of advice, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Virus Expert Warned Delta is "Maybe the Most Contagious Virus We've Ever Seen"

Young sick student teenager woman outside at bus stop is sneezing into the elbow by an allergy or cold. Scared woman in protective mask afraid cough woman outdoor

"This new variant, the Delta variant, it's different," warned Brilliant. "We didn't deal with a virus that had a three and a half day incubation period, and every case led to eight more with exponential growth. This is maybe the most contagious virus that we've ever seen in living memory. That's the bad news. The good news is the vaccines are holding up…they promised us 95% efficacy and they deliver it even better than that. If the definition of efficacy is keeping us safe, keeping us out of the hospital, keeping us alive. However, there's two other kinds of efficacy, and that is keeping us from getting the disease and keeping us from giving the disease, the Delta, the variant depresses those two ends of the efficacy chain. So good news and keeping us safe and how they not so good news and infectiousness and spread."


Virus Expert Said It's Possible Delta Will Drop Off, But Only After Running Out of People to Infect

Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital.

Delta case numbers in both the UK and India, are dropping. Might that happen in America? "Yes," says Brilliant. "Our models also, looking at San Francisco and New York also predict a inverted V shaped epidemic curve going up very quickly and coming down very quickly. And if that turns out to be true, it will follow the science that says that this disease is so infectious and is so rapid to infect everybody—even including that some vaccinated people are also infected. It basically runs out of candidates to be infected very quickly. That may mean that this is a six month phenomenon in a country rather than a two year phenomenon." Read on for his big "but."

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Virus Expert Warns You: There are More Greek Letters After Delta

Two doctors wearing personal personal protective equipment

"I do caution people that this is the Delta variant, and we've not run out of Greek letters. So there may be more to come. This one may be rapid and rapidly spreading, but the next one may have a different characteristic."

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Virus Expert Warned COVID Will Be With Us Forever

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

"The reason we call it 'the forever virus' is that it will become something like influenza, which is also a forever virus. It doesn't mean that it will occupy our attention and take all the oxygen out of the air and dominate the conversation forever," but neither will it be eradicated, he said. 

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Stay Safe Out There

Nurse taking blood sample from young female patient in the background. Selective focus on sample tube.

So to keep yourself safe, get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek