A leading epidemiologist warns that the highly communicable delta variant of COVID-19 could be one of the most contagious diseases in recent history.
“This is perhaps the most contagious virus we have ever seen in living memory,” said Larry Brilliant, who worked with the World Health Organization to help eradicate smallpox. in an interview with CNBC on Friday,
Brilliant, who is the founder and CEO of Pandefense Advisory, said he feels the world is still grappling with the beginning of the pandemic rather than the end because of the new variant.
Brilliant went on to say that new strains of the coronavirus will be developed unless vaccines are scaled up globally.
“Unless we vaccinate everyone in more than 200 countries, there will still be new variants,” he said.
Brilliant’s comments come amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. from the delta variant, with unvaccinated people hit the hardest.
Brilliant encouraged people 65 and older to get booster shots in the near future, saying their weak immune systems can make them more vulnerable to the virus.
“So I would say that those people should get a third dose, a booster right away, as quickly as moving the vaccines to those countries that have not had a great chance of buying them or having access to them,” Brilliant said. saying. “I consider those two things to be the same.”
The debate over whether to administer booster vaccines is intensifying, as some public health experts warn countries that they should not go ahead with plans to offer third doses at a time when millions of people have not even received their first dose.