WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb said the Delta variant is expected to be the last major surge of COVID-19 in the United States.
- Gottlieb predicts the Delta variant to run its course by Thanksgiving.
- The former FDA commissioner warned that he expects the Delta variant will still strike northern areas of the country harder in the coming weeks.
Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Monday the COVID-19 Delta wave could likely be the last big COVID-19 wave in the United States.
“On the back end of this delta wave, I do think this is the last major surge of infection, barring something unexpected like a new variant coming along that pierces the immunity offered by vaccination or prior infection,” Gottlieb told CNN.
The Delta wave is finally slowing in many areas of the country after weeks of rising cases.
Still, Gottlieb cautioned that he expects the Delta variant will still hit northern areas of the nation harder in the coming weeks after widespread outbreaks in the South and Midwest.
“I think by Thanksgiving, it’s probably going to have run its course across the whole country,” the former FDA chief said. “But it’s going to seep into the northern parts of the country, the Northeast a little bit later than certainly in the South but even in the Midwest.”
In the last two weeks, cases have declined across the US by 18 percent, but Gottlieb noted that drops in the South’s case count are driving the decrease after delta “aggressively” spread in the region.
The former commissioner said officials are documenting surging cases in other areas of the US, particularly the Midwest and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
“So prevalence should decline on the back end of this delta wave, and hopefully we get back to more of a semblance of normalcy, especially when vaccines hopefully will be available for children as well,” he added.
Pfizer is preparing to submit its data for vaccines in children under 12 in a matter of days. Gottlieb said the FDA could decide on authorization in four to six weeks.
The CDC has estimated the Delta variant to account for about 98 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the country throughout September.
The highly contagious strain hit the South particularly hard over the summer. The rapid spread of infection and the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths occurred among those who were not vaccinated against the virus.
Source: The Hill