China Faces The Delta Variant

Nanjing, a mega-city with a population of more than 9.3 million in eastern China, has launched the third round of all-inclusive nucleic acid testing to contain the latest COVID-19 resurgence that first emerged at the city’s airport.

Recently it was reported that nine airport cleaners at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport tested positive for the virus during a routine inspection. Within days the spread had reached 184 confirmed locally transmitted cases!

The viral genome sequencing showed that 52 cases of the cases were highly homologous, suggesting the same transmission chain, and all strains were found to be the highly infectious Delta variant, said Ding Jie, deputy director of the Nanjing Municipal Centre. In addition to a total of 193 locally transmitted confirmed cases and five local asymptomatic cases in Jiangsu, new infections were also reported among flight passengers who have visited the airport and their contacts in other parts of China, including the provinces of Guangdong, Sichuan and Liaoning.

China too familiar with tackling the virus went into overdrive, to curb the COVID-19 resurgence, Nanjing launched three rounds of all-inclusive nucleic acid testing’s and prevented residents from leaving the city. There are facilities built to enhance testing can now tests 1.8 million people every day by using the mixed testing approach.

The Delta variant, which might become the dominant strain over the coming months, has spread to 132 countries and regions, the WHO said this week. According to Qiu Haibo, an intensive care expert in Jiangsu, the Delta variant is a highly infectious form of the virus because patients with the Delta strain have a higher load of nucleic acid.

“People infected by this virus strain are often asymptomatic or just have mild symptoms such as muscle soreness and dysosmia,” Qiu said. It is important to have good hygiene practices such as wearing masks correctly, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance, Qiu added.

“Most severe patients have some underlying health conditions such as respiratory diseases, diabetes, hypertension or obesity,” Qiu said, adding that a national team of experts, including some who once treated cases infected by the Delta variant in Guangdong and Yunnan, are treating the several severe patients in Nanjing.

Beijing has started carrying out vaccination for people aged 15 to 17 in senior high schools since July and plans to launch vaccination for people aged 12 to 14 in junior high schools in early August, according to Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zhang Wenhong said that people can still be infected after being vaccinated, but the number of infections could be much higher if they do not get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is expected to reduce the harm of coronavirus to the level of seasonal influenza by establishing herd immunity in a short period of time,” Zhang said. “If there is no vaccine, it may take decades for humans to coexist with the virus while paying a heavy price.”

“Most virologists in the world agree that this is a virus with which we must learn to coexist. The epidemic in Nanjing further consolidated the claim that there will always be risks of infections in the future,” Zhang said.

“We need everyone’s awareness of prevention and control and the strength of the country’s public health system to coexist with the virus,” he added.

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