Delta variant behind more than 80% of U.S. cases, but vaccines still highly effective - Fauci

(Reuters) - The Delta variant of COVID-19 is the cause of more than 80% of the new cases in the United States, but the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the country are still more than 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, said top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday U.S. Senate hearing. 

  The highly contagious Delta variant was first found in India earlier this year. It has since become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States and has been detected in more than 90 countries worldwide. 

  Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have averaged 239 per day over the past week, nearly 48% higher than the previous week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during the hearing. 

  (Reporting by Carl O'Donnell in New York and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru) 

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