Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday the current surge in Covid infections caused by the more contagious delta variant may be the “final wave” of the virus in the United States.
“I don’t think Covid is going to be epidemic all through the fall and the winter. I think that this is the final wave, the final act, assuming we don’t have a variant emerge that pierces the immunity offered by prior infection or vaccination,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said on “Squawk Box.” “This is probably going to be the wave of infection that ends up affecting the people who refuse to get vaccinated.”
“I think this is going to be a difficult period right now,” he said. However, Gottlieb said the contagious nature of the delta variant and increased vaccination rates could change the trajectory of future infections.
“We’re going to reach some level of population wide exposure to this virus, either through vaccination or through prior infection that’s going to stop circulating at this level, at this rate,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 under the Donald Trump administration.
“The goal has to be to get schools open and keep them open, and we can’t expect to change all the behaviors in terms of what we’re doing with respect to mitigation in schools and get the same result, especially with this new delta variant which is more contagious, and is inevitably going to be hard to control in the schools,” said Gottlieb, who serves on the board of Covid vaccine maker Pfizer.
“We are taking sort of an alpha mindset into a delta world, and it’s not going to work,” Gottlieb said, referring to the alpha coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. last year. “We’re going to see that this delta variant is more difficult to control,” he said.