Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, warned on Sunday that an infectious variant of the coronavirus could lead to a new wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall, especially in states with low rates of vaccination.
Gottlieb commented on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” saying that if the White House should be celebrated for delivering more than 317 million doses of vaccine in President Joe Biden’s first months in office, the nation needed of a new strategy to hit those who were still hesitant to get vaccinated. The former FDA commissioner added that data shows the growing threat of the Delta variant of the virus – which is up to 60% more contagious than previous strains – could lead to a new wave of infections in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri.
The states have some of the lowest inoculation rates in the country.
“It doesn’t necessarily appear to be more pathogenic, meaning more dangerous, but it infects people more easily and is starting to become very common in the UK in unvaccinated communities,” the doctor said. “When we look across the United States, we see a lot of variation in terms of vaccination rates. Some states like Vermont or Connecticut have very high vaccination rates, over 80%. Other states are struggling to reach 50%.
He continued, “So Connecticut, for example, where I am, is not showing any upsurge in infections, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri have very significant upsurges in infections. This is entirely based on the population-wide immunity that you have based on the vaccination. “
The warnings echo those of current officials in the Biden administration, including Dr Anthony Fauci, who urged Americans earlier this month to get vaccinated.
While the Delta variant spreads rapidly, a recent study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective against the strain two weeks after the second dose. Gottlieb said the evidence for the vaccine’s effectiveness underscored the need for the Biden administration to rethink its vaccination campaign.
“We need to think about a different vaccine distribution strategy to get people who are still reluctant or still having difficulty accessing these access sites,” Gottlieb said. “I think the administration of vaccines will decrease over the summer as the prevalence decreases. People will not be looking for a vaccine in July and August. But as people plan to go back to school and return to work in the fall, they will be looking for vaccines. “
Gottlieb also said on Sunday that the Biden administration’s recent announcement to spend $ 3.2 billion to invest in a range of antiviral drug trials to fight COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses could be a “Real game changer”.
“I think we’ll get a drug that inhibits viral replication that could be taken on an outpatient basis and that’s basically like a Tamiflu for the coronavirus that you could take when you have the first symptoms, when you have an initial diagnosis to prevent progression. towards disease, ”Gottlieb said.
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