On Monday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb stated that a resurgence of COVID in the US is unlikely, according to CNBC.
European nations have seen a significant increase in cases in recent weeks. Gottlieb believes that the progress the US has made in its vaccine campaign is helping COVID cases to continually decline.
Gottlieb is the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner. His comments contradict statements made by White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci a day prior that encouraged US states to not lift all restrictions yet due to the resurgence in Europe.
Breakouts in Italy and Germany have resulted in increased restrictions from lawmakers. “Earlier I said we were sort of four to maybe six weeks behind Europe, and we pretty much were,” Gottlieb said. “Everything that happened in Europe eventually happened here. Now I think the tables have turned. We’re ahead of Europe.”
“I don’t think the conditions in Europe and the situation in Europe is necessarily predictive anymore of what’s going to happen here because we have much more immunity in our population both from prior infection — which they have as well — but also now from vaccination,” he added.
In the EU around 9.5 percent of the population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Around 7.5 percent of Italians and 8.5 percent of Germans have received one dose of the vaccine. In the US, around 21 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I think we should be concerned that things can turn in a direction that we’re not predicting,” said Gottlieb. He believes that masks should be the last mandate to be lifted once more vaccines are distributed.
He also acknowledged the COVID-19 strain that stemmed from cases in the UK.
“Right now you’re seeing B.1.1.7 become pretty prevalent across the United States. It’s more than 50% of cases in Texas and Florida and Southern California, and you’re not seeing the big upswing in cases that we might have expected once that variant claimed hold in the United States,” Gottlieb said, attributing it to the level of prior infection in the country along with vaccination rates.
Gottlieb estimates that around 50 percent of Americans have some immunity to the coronavirus.
“The fact that we haven’t seen the coronavirus upsurge gain ... even as B.1.1.7 becomes the prevalent strain across the United States, I think bodes well,” Gottlieb said.