Story at a glance
- The former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, said on Sunday that impending COVID-19 outbreaks stemming from emerging variants will hamper vulnerable communities with low vaccination rates.
- "It's going to hyper-regionalized,” Gottlieb said. “There's certain pockets of the country where you're going to have very dense outbreaks."
- Gottlieb added that potential outbreaks could resemble previous surges that began in the nation’s rural communities and that governors should “build out health care resources in areas of the country where you still have a lot of vulnerability.”
The former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that impending COVID-19 outbreaks stemming from emerging variants will be hyper-local and hamper communities with low vaccination rates.
"It's not going to be as pervasive," Gottlieb told CBS’s Face the Nation. "It's going to be hyper regionalized...there are certain pockets of the country [where] we can have very dense outbreaks."
The former FDA commissioner continued that potential outbreaks could resemble previous surges that began in the nation’s rural communities and that governors should "build out health care resources in areas of the country where you still have a lot of vulnerability."
"I think as you look across the United States, if you're a community that has low vaccination rates and you also think that...there's low immunity from prior infection, so the virus really has in course through the local population, those communities are vulnerable," he said.
Gottlieb told the outlet last week that reported cases directly correspond with a state's vaccination rate. Additionally, a recent analysis by The Washington Post found 17 states where vaccination rates below the national average correlated with an increase in new cases.
When asked on Sunday how to mitigate vaccine hesitancy, Gottlieb placed his focus on empowering local leaders and physicians, saying that people who could be persuaded by Anthony Fauci or the surgeon general "probably are already vaccinated."
"And so we need to get the vaccines into the hands of doctors, make it easier for doctors to supply vaccines in their offices," Gottlieb said, adding that he expects vaccination rates to continue to fall entering the summer as new daily case prevalence "declines and people feel safer."
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 80,000 new cases have been reported in the U.S. in the past seven days. Meanwhile, approximately 66 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine with 46 percent of the total population fully vaccinated.
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