Gottlieb says cases will drop, vaccinations accomplish monumental
Signs and age groups are shown for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at a vaccination center as California opens vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older during the coronavirus disease outbreak ( COVID-19) in Chula Vista, California, United States, April 15, 2021.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottleib said on Sunday that a sharp drop in new Covid-19 cases in the United States was likely to continue, predicting a “relatively calm summer with regard to the spread of the coronavirus “.
“Look, the situation in the United States continues to improve, and I think in the coming weeks we’re going to see an acceleration in the decline in cases,” Gottlieb said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation”.
The doctor credited the mass vaccination campaign that began under President Donald Trump and continued under President Joe Biden to the country’s ability to curb the spread of the disease.
“It’s been a monumental achievement – rolling out this vaccine, getting so many Americans vaccinated – and it’s going to continue,” Gottlieb said. “We will continue to get rid of it. The vaccination rate will slow down in the coming weeks. But we will continue to recruit more people as summer approaches.”
To date, over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or nearly a third of the population. About 146 million people, or 44% of the population, have received at least one dose.
The vaccine administration rate has decreased somewhat in recent weeks, after rising for months, now that most of the people most desirous of being vaccinated have gotten one.
As more Americans have received vaccines, Covid-19 cases have dropped sharply. On Saturday, the 7-day average of new daily cases fell to less than 50,000, down 17% from the previous week. Hospitalizations and deaths from the disease are also on the decline.
To get a feel for what might happen in the United States, Gottlieb said it might be useful to take a look at heavily vaccinated San Francisco.
“About 71% of people in San Francisco have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 47% have been fully immunized. They have about 20 cases per day. They have about 20 people who have been hospitalized,” Gottlieb said.
“They have significantly reduced Covid in this city, and this is largely the result of the vaccination,” he added.
Using financial terms, Gottlieb suggested that the gains from immunization were “locked in” and “fairly sustainable.”
“We are entering warmer months, when this is going to create a safety net against the spread of the coronavirus, and therefore we are blocking these gains,” Gottlieb said.
Although the health situation appears to be on the cusp of normalcy in the United States, it is worsening in other countries with fewer resources. In India, new cases daily exceeded 400,000 on Saturday, a recording.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and serves on the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.
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