Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced on Sunday that the latest delta variant is not contagious enough to change the COVID-19 pandemic’s “trajectory” in the United States.
“I don’t think this is enough to really change the trajectory of the direction we’re heading in. We’re much closer to the end of this delta wave than we are to the beginning. The South looks very good right now. In the Midwest, where there’s been a very dense epidemic, we see cases starting to decline,” Gottlieb stated when asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” if he is worried about the new variant.
“There was a pickup in cases in the Great Lakes region, in parts of New England, so that’s concerning. This delta wave still has to course its way through parts of the country, but I think as we get to Thanksgiving, maybe shortly thereafter, we’re going to be on the downswing across the nation”, Gottlieb continued.
A mutation of the delta variant referred to as the delta plus strain, has begun to appear within the last few months in the United Kingdom. Most of the variant cases seen in the U.S. have been
reported in California and have been mainly reported at lower rates than the original delta strain.
The former FDA commissioner announced that he thinks the COVID-19 vaccine protects against the new variant. It is unlikely that it would make inroads globally the same way the original delta strain did.
“We’ve seen sharp declines in the south, where delta’s largely run its course, so cases are coming down very sharply in populous states like Texas and Florida, but you’re seeing pretty dense epidemics in the midwest and plains states, and we still don’t know how the northeast and the northern states are going to fare,” Gottlieb said.
“I think that this is something that’s going to probably push us in a direction of eventually reformulating our vaccines,” Gottlieb remarked.