Public/Global Health

Gottlieb: US will be through delta wave in 2 or 3 weeks

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted early Wednesday that the United States could get through the worst of the delta variant surge of the coronavirus in a few weeks. 

“The bottom line is, the vaccine does not make you impervious to infection,” Gottlieb said during an appearance on CNBC. “There are some people who are developing mild and asymptomatic infections even after vaccination.” 

After acknowledging the delta variant of the coronavirus as “much more transmissible” than the first strain, Gottlieb questioned whether that fact should “translate into general guidance” on mask wearing and vaccine requirements in the United States. 

“I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to get enough bang for our buck by telling vaccinated people they have to wear masks at all times to make it worth our while. I think we’re further into this delta wave than we’re picking up. I think in another two or three weeks we’ll be through this.” 

Gottlieb added that the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could have a “negligible impact” on public health and that federal officials should instead focus on more targeted messaging on guidance for high-risk areas. 

The CDC announced new guidance Tuesday recommending that vaccinated Americans wear masks while in crowded indoor environments in certain areas of the country where the delta variant has caused a major increase in cases.

The delta variant is now accounting for the majority of new cases in the United States, almost entirely among the unvaccinated. President Biden’s administration is facing increased pressure to get more people vaccinated and require federal workers, teachers and people who work in health care industries to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. 

“If you are vaccinated in a high-prevalence area, in contact with virus, you think you might have the virus because you have mild symptoms of it, be prudent, get tested, maybe wear a mask especially if you are around a vulnerable person,” Gottlieb said on CNBC. “That should be bottom-line guidance we give.” 

Tags COVID-19 Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States Joe Biden SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant

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