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Gottlieb: US won't have 'true fourth wave' of COVID-19 as vaccinations increase

Gottlieb: US won't have 'true fourth wave' of COVID-19 as vaccinations increase
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Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that he does not think there will be a "true fourth wave" of COVID-19 in the United States as vaccination rates accelerate.

The United States in recent days hit 4 million vaccinations in a day, and the numbers are on their way up as supply increases. Gottlieb said the increasing vaccinations combined with the existing immunity from people who have already had the virus should be enough to stop a major new spike in cases.

"I think that there's enough immunity in the population that you're not going to see a true fourth wave of infection," Gottlieb said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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"What we're seeing is pockets of infection around the country, particularly in younger people who haven't been vaccinated and also in school-age children," he continued.

Still, the country is not out of the woods yet, as new cases per day have been ticking up, reaching about 64,000 per day in the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. As more vulnerable people get vaccinated, deaths are declining, though they are still averaging about 800 people every day.

Therefore, Gottlieb and other experts are urging people not to throw out all precautions yet.

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"I think we should continue to be cautious," he noted, especially given the spread of new variants that add an element of unpredictability.

He wrote on Twitter that the country needs two to three more weeks before a "vaccine inflection point" where the situation more dramatically improves.

"People sense that Covid risk is receding with vaccines, and they want to reclaim normalcy," Gottlieb wrote on Twitter. "We need to issue public health guidance in a way that recognizes people's aspirations. While we need to remain cautious a little longer, the situation should sharply improve this spring."