RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Health experts continue to sound the alarm on the highly contagious Delta variant. A new report from the CDC shows the variant is as contagious as chickenpox and more transmissible than the common cold.

The agency says the “war has changed” against COVID-19 according to an internal report obtained by ABC News.

“This is an incredibly, incredibly contagious version of the virus. It’s almost like a whole different virus,” Dr. Ashish Jha, with Brown University’s School of Public Health said.

Not only is it more contagious, but fully vaccinated people can spread it just as easily.

The CDC released new guidelines for people who have gotten the shot but may have been exposed to the virus.

  • Get tested three to five days after the exposure
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces for 14 days, or until a negative test result comes back
  • If the test comes back positive, you’ll need to isolate

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned the vaccines are needed now to stop the variant from spreading even more.

“The big concern is that the next variant that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines,” she says.

Health experts continue to stress that breakthrough cases are extremely rare. In Virginia, 1,500 fully vaccinated people have tested for the Delta variant — making up less than one percent of cases.