“As Delta spreads rapidly, it’s acting like a heat-seeking missile targeting those who haven’t yet been vaccinated,” said Frieden, who served as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under former president Barack Obama between 2009 and 2017.
Though Frieden received over 9,000 likes and 2,000 retweets on Twitter, many commenters also criticized and ridiculed the ex-health official over the claim.
The Delta variant was first identified in India in late 2020, and it is yet to be fully understood how well the available vaccines can protect against it. While some manufacturers and studies have said the jabs should be effective enough, the most popular argument being made is that even if they fail to shield against the virus, the severity of the disease would be greatly reduced.
However, it’s not what Frieden wrote – and while some rolled their eyes over the bluntness of the statement, others wondered if the ex-official even understood how heat-seeking missiles and coronavirus work.
Several users countered with reports that the Delta variant has been targeting those vaccinated against Covid-19 as much as it has been targeting the unvaccinated. That seems to be a picture emerging from Israel – the most-vaccinated country in the world – with Israeli Health Ministry head, Chezy Levy, telling the state broadcaster Kan Bet last week that up to 50% of new Delta variant cases in Israel have been recorded among vaccinated individuals. The official added that the authorities are still analyzing the actual figures, but fully vaccinated Israelis who’ve come in contact with the Delta variant will be told to self-isolate.
Many of the critics cited the developments in Israel as the reason they considered that Frieden’s statement clashed with reality.
Others focused on the ex-CDC director’s scandalous past, with one branding him a “heat-seeking sexual predator eyeing his prey,” in reference to Frieden pleading guilty to groping a woman without her consent in 2019. Though Frieden faced up to a year in prison at the time on charges of forcible touching, third-degree sexual abuse, and second-degree harassment, he avoided imprisonment after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to stay away from the woman for a year.
The Delta variant – and the newly emerged strain dubbed ‘Delta plus’ – are still being studied. However, it is said that if the Alpha (or the ‘British’) variant was roughly 60% more transmissible than the first known strains of SARS-CoV-2, the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha.
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