The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break through protections afforded by the vaccines, and may cause more severe disease than all other known versions of the virus, according to an internal presentation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu, and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox, the newspaper added, citing the document.

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