“If we could just buy ourselves a few more weeks and not really see an infection take off anywhere in the country, I think we’ll be at the point where we have enough vaccines in the population… be a safety net significant enough – combined with global warming – against really a fourth wave of “infections,” Gottlieb said, noting that states are dramatically expanding vaccine eligibility.
“I think we’ll get there,” added the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who now sits on Pfizer’s board of directors. “It’s a little tricky and going over the next couple of weeks because we’re seeing increases in some parts of the country, but it’s probably going to be regionalized. It will probably just be some states that see their cases increase. ”
According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 28% of the American population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and 15.5% have been fully vaccinated, as of Sunday. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections for full immune protection, while Johnson & Johnson is a single dose. These are the only three approved for emergency use in the United States
The seven-day moving average of new infections is increasing in 30 states and Washington, DC, according to CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Gottlieb referred to Michigan, along with the bleak New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut region, as areas where “we see problems.”
Overall, the latest weekly average of new Covid cases in the country is over 63,000, up 16% from the previous week, according to CNBC analysis. This remains well below the nation’s peak in early January of about 250,000 people.
For the seven-day period ending Friday, hospital admissions of Covid patients increased 4% from the previous week, but fell more than 71% since early January, according to the CDC.
The United States has recorded an average of 970 Covid deaths per day over the past week, a decrease of 3% from the previous one, according to CNBC analysis.
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci last week told a press briefing that America is ‘on the corner’, rather than turning the corner, in the fight against Covid .
– CNBC Nate Rattner contributed to this report.