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Graphic: CDC via The Washington Post

Unpublished research indicates that the Delta variant causes more severe illness and spreads as easily as chickenpox, and that vaccinated people may transmit the strain as easily as those who are unvaccinated, according to an internal CDC presentation obtained by WashPost.

Why it matters: The data played a key role in the CDC's decision to tell vaccinated people to resume masking indoors, with the presentation calling on health officials to "acknowledge the war has changed," The Post reports.

Zoom in: The document affirms that the vaccines provide substantial protection against serious illness and death, but warns that mild breakthrough cases may be more common than previously thought.

  • It stresses the daunting "communication challenges" that this new phase could bring, as the agency looks to convince a skeptical public of the effectiveness of the vaccines while moving the "goal posts of success in full public view," The Post writes.
  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky briefed members of Congress on much of the data Thursday, and the agency is expected to release it in full on Friday.

Read the presentation.

Go deeper

Jill Biden kicking off "nationwide effort" to get children vaccinated

Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden on Monday will travel to Virginia to start a "nationwide effort" to get children between the ages of 5 and 11 vaccinated, the White House announced Friday.

State of play: Biden will "visit a pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, the first school to administer the polio vaccine in 1954," her office said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.