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New CDC data compares Delta variant spread to chickenpox

As delta variant cases continue to increase new CDC data shows it can spread as easily as chickenpox. The report breaks down the rapid rise in breakthrough cases.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Sounding the alarm after a new CDC report shows that COVID-19 is more transmissible than originally thought.

"It is very alarming but it is not surprising. The Delta variant is about as transmissible as the chickenpox meaning that for every person infected you were going to have eight or nine other people infected,” said Dr. Argentina Servin, UCSD assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases in the department of medicine.

Dr. Servin said originally scientists thought coronavirus was as transmissible as the common cold and only infected a few people nearest you, but that is no longer the case.

In the CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s statement Friday, she confirms the highly contagious nature of the delta variant and encourages more people to wear masks indoors and get the shot.

“This new data points that people who are vaccinated are shedding the virus at the same rate as someone who is not vaccinated,” Dr. Servin said.

The CDC's weekly report on COVID infections details the rapid increase in recent vaccine breakthrough cases. One chart displays the rise in those vaccinated getting infected with COVID associated with large public gatherings.

“As long as you are vaccinated, I feel like you won’t have much to worry about, but I mean you are going to spread it, and if there are people you know who are unvaccinated, it is probably in their best interest if you do wear a mask,” said Vincent Pezzuti, a Santee native.

Many of those vaccinated at Balboa Park say they still feel protected in large gatherings despite the uptick in the Delta variant.

“I mean, I’m getting nervous, but I feel like that is mostly media versus what is actually happening because if you were looking at numbers compared to last year, it is far lower and many of us are enjoying outdoor events mostly anyway,” said San Diego Jennifer Price.

Still doctors urge more people to mask and social distance.

“It means that you really have to be cautious, get your vaccine, you know, wear your mask and limit your interactions with others and protect your family especially the children who are unable to get vaccinated,” Dr. Servin said.

But some of those already vaccinated feel like they continue to be the target of the latest data when the emphasis should be on the unvaccinated.

"I feel like those who are vaccinated have done our part and yes, we don’t want to get people sick, but at the same time, we have to go on with our lives, and if people are choosing not to get it, that is on them,” Price said.

WATCH RELATED: How different are COVID-19 symptoms for vaccinated people versus unvaccinated people? (July 2021)