The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that most unvaccinated Americans will contract the Indian ‘Delta’ Covid variant and it will be the ‘most serious virus of their lives’.
In an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Dr Scott Gottlieb, said that about 75 percent of the population – about 50 percent of whom have been vaccinated and 25 percent of whom have had the virus – are no long susceptible to COVID-19 but at least one quarter still are.
He said that those who haven’t been vaccinated, or don’t have antibodies from a previous infections, are risking severe illness and hospitalization.
‘This virus is so contagious, this variant is so contagious that it’s going to infect the majority – that most people will either get vaccinated or have been previously infected or they will get this Delta variant,’ Gottlieb told host John Dickerson.
‘And for most people who get this Delta variant, it’s going to be the most serious virus that they get in their lifetime in terms of the risk of putting them in the hospital.’
Gottlieb’s comments come as the average number as the U.S. recorded 12,048 new cases on Sunday with a seven-day rolling average of 31,919, a 210 percent increase from the 10,293 average recorded three weeks ago.i.
Meanwhile, as infections rise, daily COVID-19 vaccinations continue to decline, with the seven-day rolling average falling below 500,000 per day from a high of 3.5 million in April.
The surge has been blamed on the spread of the Delta variant in states with low vaccination rates such as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.
The variant has been ravaging the UK, with the country recently recording more than 50,000 new cases in a day for the first time since January.
Ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb warned on Sunday that ‘most’ unvaccinated Americans will contract the Covid ‘Delta’ variant and it will be the ‘most serious virus of their lives’
The U.S. recorded 12,048 new cases on Sunday with a seven-day rolling average of 31,919, a 210 percent increase from the 10,293 average recorded three weeks ago
Daily COVID-19 vaccinations continue to decline with the seven-day rolling average falling below 500,000 per day from a high of 3.5 million in April (above)
Gottlieb estimates that about 97 percent of hospitalizations, along with most deaths, are among the unvaccinated population.
He stressed that cases likely being undercounted and that the Delta variant is far more widespread than believed – but that it won’t lead to a rise in deaths because the most vulnerable citizens have been vaccinated.
‘I think at this point, we’re probably undercounting how many infections are in the United States right now, because to the extent that a lot of the infections are occurring in younger and healthier people who might be getting mild illness, they’re not- probably not presenting to get tested,’ he said on Face the Nation.
‘And to extent that there are some breakthrough cases either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases and those who have been vaccinated, they’re not presenting to get tested because if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t think that you have the coronavirus, even if you develop a mild illness.’
Gottlieb added that most businesses and organizations are not doing regular or routine screenings, so many mild illnesses are going undetected.
‘So, the people who tend to be getting tested right now are people who are getting very sick or people who are developing telltale symptoms of COVID like loss of taste or smell,’ he explained.
‘And that’s only about 15 or 20 percent of people who will become infected. ‘
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 111 percent from 1,053 per day to 2,227 per day in the last two weeks.
Tge state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with 46 percent of residents having received received at least one dose, and 40 percent fully vaccinated.
Comparatively, 55.8 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 48.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 530 per day two weeks ago to 580 per day on Thursday, a 10 percent increase, the DailyMail.com analysis found.
Only 35.1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated as infection double every 10 day according to Dr Cam Patterson, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
He said that states with high vaccination rates will not have much as much Delta spread due to ‘a wall of immunity’ compared to states in the South and Midwest with lower vaccination rates.
‘If you’re in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low and there hasn’t been a lot of viruses spread and that’s a lot of parts of the rural south, I think it’s much more vulnerable,’ Gottlieb told Face the Nation.
‘I think people who live in those communities, especially if you live in communities where the prevalence is already high, I think it’s prudent to take precautions
He also recommeneded that people in these areas begin wearing masks.
‘Quality of mask is going to make a difference with a variant that spreads more aggressively like Delta does, where people are more contagious and exude more virus,’ he said.
‘Trying to get N95 masks into the hands of vulnerable individuals in places where this is really epidemic I think is going to be important, even in cases where they’re vaccinated, if they want to add another layer of protection.’
The former FDA chief, a Republican nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017, sits on the board of Covid vaccine maker Pfizer.
On Sunday, Los Angeles County became the first to scrap its reopening and require masks again as the Delta variant, first identified in India in December, spreads throughout the United States.