Sarawak has been leading the list of states with the highest COVID-19 cases the past few days.

It has been found that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be the culprit behind the rise in cases, reported Harian Metro.

The tabloid daily quoted Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera saying that out of 307 positive cases detected on Aug 31, 303 were of the Delta variant, according to genome sequencing.

The 99 percentage is a drastic increase from the 82 per cent recorded by the IHCM on Aug 2.

According to him further, all the cases recorded in Kuching, Serian, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Mukah, Miri and Limbang, and import cases involving foreigners, were of the Delta variant.

The percentage in Sibu and Kapit were 97, while in Bintulu, it is 98 per cent.

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.

To date, the coronavirus has infected more than 1.9 million in the country, and killed 19,163.

Source: Harian Metro
Photo source: Web MD