A total of 978 cases involving the highly transmissible delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus had been detected until August 29.

Of the number, 265 cases were reported between Aug 16 and 29, the Health Ministry's National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) said in a recent statement.

The majority of the cases (178) were recorded in Sarawak, followed by 31 in Penang, and 19 cases in Pahang.

In addition to this, 209 cases of the Beta variant and 14 cases of the Alpha variant have also been reported, bringing the total number of Variant of Concern (VOC) infections in the country to 1,201.

As for Variant of Interest (VOI), 13 infections of the Theta variant were reported, followed by four Kappa infections, and three Eta infections.

The Delta strain was first detected in India in October last year, and is now the dominant strain in various countries around the world. It is more contagious than the MERS virus, ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and as transmissible as chickenpox.

According to reports, the viral load of those infected with the Delta variant is also up to 1,260 times greater than the original coronavirus variant which appeared in Wuhan last year.

Delta can also infect a larger group of people in a short span of time. Precisely, infections can happen within 15 seconds when the virus is airborne, compared to previous strains of the virus which could pass on from an infected person to other individuals in a span of 15 minutes in distances of one-metre apart.

The strain also has a far higher infectivity rate (RT) of between 5 and 8, compared to its predecessor's 2.5 to 3. This means for every 100 people infected, it could spread to 500 to 800 others.

Malaysia continues to record high numbers of COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. Yesterday, 20,897 new cases and 282 deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of infections and fatalities in the country to 1.74 million, and 16,664, respectively.

The coronavirus has infected more than 218 million people and killed over 4.53 million, worldwide.

Source: Harian Metro
Photo source: WebMD