The former FDA chief has warned that the delta variant could be the “most serious” disease that unvaccinated Americans will get in their lifetime — as the highly contagious strain fuels rising infections in all 50 states.
“This virus is so contagious, this type is so contagious that it’s going to infect the vast majority of people — that most people will either get vaccinated or have been infected before or they’ll get this delta version,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb Said on “Face the Nation”.
“And for most people who get this delta version, it’s going to be the most serious virus they get in terms of their risk of being put in the hospital in their lifetime.”
The delta variant has prompted an increasing number of cases in all 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the latest estimates indicating that the strain is responsible for at least 57 percent of new infections.
Health officials have called the rising cases a “non-vaccination epidemic” as the virus has turned areas of the country with low vaccination rates into hot spots.
The seven-day average for new infections this week is up 70 percent compared to the previous seven days at about 30,000 per day.
But Gottlieb warned that the outbreak could be far worse than current data indicate.
“I think this delta wave may be much more advanced than what we’re detecting right now,” he said. “The cases we are actually picking up may be less in the winter at the peak of the pandemic [when] We were probably turning up one in three or one in four infections. “
Gottlieb estimated that the number of 1-in-20 cases currently in testing in the US is low.
“We’ll be picking up something on the order of one in 10 or one in 20 infections right now because more of those infections are happening in people who either won’t protest or they’re mild infections and they’re self-limiting, ” he told.
“So, the people who are being tested now are people who are getting very sick or people who are developing telltale symptoms of COVID like loss of taste or smell,” he continued.
US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy warned on Sunday that rising cases driven by the Delta variant will likely prompt more local governments to reimpose indoor mask mandates.
“In areas where the number of people who have been vaccinated is low, where cases are rising, it is very reasonable for counties to take more mitigation measures, such as the mask rules coming out of LA. And I hope this will happen in other parts of the country as well,” Murthy said. On ABC’s “This Week”“