The U.S. is on track to see 200,000 daily COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, the former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director told CNN.
"We're heading into a rough time. It's likely, if our trajectory is similar to that in the United Kingdom, that we could see as many as 200,000 cases a day," Tom Frieden said on Monday.
However, the “horrific death tolls” seen last year during the pandemic will likely not return since so many vulnerable people are fully vaccinated, he added, according to CNN.
The jump in cases is due to the delta variant that has swiftly made its way across the states and caused significant case increases in areas with many unvaccinated individuals.
The case count could quadruple in the next four to six weeks due to the variant, Frieden said.
The comments are similar to ones made by the British health secretary at the beginning of July who said the U.K. was expecting thousands more cases, but less deaths due to the vaccine.
“As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly, and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers,” Sajid Javid said at the time. “What matters more than anything is hospitalization and death numbers, and that is where the link has been severely weakened.”
Vaccinations in the U.S. have slowed since the beginning of the year, with a large majority of those who don’t already have the vaccine saying they don’t plan to get it.
When vaccinations were high and cases were lower, the CDC told vaccinated Americans they could go about life in most situations without a mask.
However, the CDC is expected to announce on Tuesday that vaccinated individuals should begin wearing masks again in some indoor situations due to the rise in cases.