While many are celebrating declining cases rates in the U.S. due to vaccination, other parts of the world are telling a different story. We are no longer dealing with the original Covid-19 virus that first emerged from Wuhan. Instead, we are dealing with a far more deadly virus, better-termed Covid-21. We have not yet seen the worst of this virus as it continues to evolve and adapt to outsmart prior interventions.  The previously successful methods used to control the virus in some countries are no longer proving effective.

Despite keeping cases close to zero for almost a year, China now finds itself locking down multiple regions to curb ongoing outbreaks. Taiwan is now in a similar position, experiencing its first surge after holding a record for the world’s longest Covid-free streak.

More people have died from Covid this year worldwide than in all of 2020. The official global death toll stood at 1,813,188 at the end of 2020 and more than 2 million people have died as a result of Covid so far this year, according to WHO.

The increased transmissibility of the Delta variant is a dire concern. In Sydney, Australia, several people were infected in “fleeting” non-physical contact in a cafe and a shopping mall. CCTV footage revealed two people walking past each other while at a mall transmitting the virus. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney that “We also need to recognize that this Delta variant… is actually a gold medallist when it comes to jumping from one person to another,”. As the cluster of cases grew to 110, Sydney has entered a two week lockdown to curb further spread of the highly infectious variant amongst a largely unvaccinated population. The city of Darwin has also entered a separate two-day lockdown after a handful of cases were linked to a Delta variant outbreak on a remote mine.

Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young decided to close the state’s borders to people from Sydney hotspots, telling The Guardian, “with the Delta variant, we’re seeing very fleeting contact leading to transmission. At the start of this pandemic, I spoke about 15 minutes of close contact being a concern. Now it looks like it’s five to 10 seconds that’s a concern. The risk is so much higher now than it was only a year ago.”