Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Sunday that the agency is “very carefully” monitoring a new COVID-19 subvariant, known as Delta plus.
Walensky said that the sub-lineage of the highly contagious Delta variant, known as AY.4.2, has been on their radar as it spreads throughout the United Kingdom.
“We’re watching it very carefully. We have had a handful of cases here in the United States but it has not taken off as it has in the UK,” Walensky said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
But Walensky stressed that it has still yet to be determined whether the new subvariant is more contagious or is resistant to vaccines, despite it being linked to a growing number of cases in the United Kingdom.
“It has several mutations on the spike protein that we have not yet seen implicated in increased transmissibility or in a decreased ability of our vaccines or therapeutics to work,” she said.
CDC director encourages Halloween trick-or-treating
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday encouraged families to celebrate Halloween and other holidays amid the Covid-19 pandemic, though still urged “prevention strategies.“
Speaking to host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” she said, “I would say put on those costumes, stay outside and enjoy your trick-or-treating.“
She did qualify those remarks, noting the continuing potential for the spread of Covid even as the infection rate from the Delta variant has slowed in recent weeks.
“I wouldn’t gather in large settings outside and do screaming like you are seeing in those football games, if you are unvaccinated, those kids that are unvaccinated,“ Walensky said, “but if you are spread out doing your trick-or-treating, that should be very safe for your children.“
CDC Director Walensky avoids question on vaccine mandate for essential workers
Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky remains coy on whether the Biden administration would support COVID-19 vaccine mandates for essential workers or students.
Walensky refused to be drawn on direct comments regarding support for further vaccine mandates – particularly, one for essential workers. Instead, she focused on the need for vaccines and the ways in which the administration would encourage workers to get the vaccine.
“The most disruptive thing you can do to a workforce is to have a Covid outbreak in that workforce,” Walensky told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “That will most definitely not only send people home but it will send people to the hospital and some may pass.”
Walensky said that the administration has “a plan” to encourage vaccinations and would point the more hesitant essential workers towards “education and counseling to get people the information they need.” She cited numbers that showed that more police officers over the past year have died from COVID-19 than from all other causes of death combined.