Leaked CDC report: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

As states battle a surge of the COVID-19 delta variant, an internal document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been leaked that shows that the variant spreads from fully vaccinated people at the same rate as unvaccinated people.

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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the authenticity of the document, which is a slide presentation, CNN and The Washington Post reported.

The document states that officials must “acknowledge the war has changed,” the Post reported.

“I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious,” Walensky told CNN.

“It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there,” Walensky added.

>>Related: How do you know if you have the delta variant; what are the symptoms?

The New York Times reported that the document states the delta variant is more transmissible than MERS, SARS, Ebola, a common cold, seasonal flu and smallpox and is as contagious as chickenpox.

The leak comes as the CDC reversed course earlier this week and now, once again, recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of the country where transmission is high, CNN reported.

The document shows that the agency knows it must get a new message out to the public that pushes vaccination as the best defense.

>>Related: Delta variant: 5 things to know about the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the US

Officials say the delta variant is acting like a different novel virus that is moving faster than Ebola or even a cold, The Washington Post reported.

The document uses unpublished data and outside studies that officials say show that even vaccinated people are able to spread the virus as if they were unvaccinated and that they have similar delta variant viral loads as those who are not vaccinated, the Post reported.

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