Since the Delta variant was first spotted in India in late 2020, it has quickly accelerated to make up nearly all the coronavirus cases currently in the United States.
Though public health officials say the vaccines currently remain effective against this strain of the virus, Delta’s rapid spread has prompted a rethinking of plans to ease restrictions and a strengthening ofin many communities. Worries of waning effectiveness against the strain also led to the Biden administration announcing plans to offer booster shots to Americans starting in September.
Meanwhile, the national vaccination effort is once again showing signs of slowing. Just over half of the American population is fully vaccinated, far short of the elusive “herd immunity” some hoped the country would reach by the end of the summer. Seven states have yet to complete vaccinations in even 40% of their residents.
Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions, as the Delta variant is now shifting America’s plans for the pandemic’s second autumn.