The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says he believes the recent Delta-fueled surge will be the final wave of the pandemic.
Speaking to The New York Times on Monday, Dr Scott Gottlieb said that unless something unexpected occurs, such as the emergence of a new variant, Covid is on its way to becoming an endemic disease.
This means the virus will always be present in the population but circulating at low rates, similar to the seasonal flu.
‘Barring something unexpected, I’m of the opinion that this is the last major wave of infection,’ Gottlieb told The Times.
Between the high rates of vaccination and the number of people who have protection through natural immunity, he says that another wave as deadly as the one caused by Delta will not be possible.
His comments come as COVID-19 cases continue to fall by more than 30 percent to the lowest levels seen since in more than two months.
Former FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said on Monday that he believes the fourth wave of the pandemic fueled by the Delta variant will be the last surge. Pictured: Gottlieb testifies before a Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee confirmation hearing, April 2017
The U.S. recorded 95,756 new cases of Covid on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of 103,000, a decline of 33% from the rolling average of 154,553 reported four weeks ago
COVID-19 hospitalizations have also declined, falling 30.9% from a peak of 101,050 in late August to 69,788 on Tuesday
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have seen Covid infections either decline or hold steady over the last week
Over the last several weeks, the rate of increase of new coronavirus cases had been significantly slowing before it began declining in mid-September.
On Tuesday, the U.S. recorded 95,756 new cases of COVID-19 with a seven-day rolling average of 103,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
That figure is a drop of 33 percent from the rolling average of 154,553 reported four weeks ago.
What’s more, it’s the lowest number reported since August 5, when the seven-day rolling average sat at 98,518, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of the data.
Additionally, 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have seen Covid infections either decline or hold steady over the last week with just nine states seeing increases.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are also trending downward, falling 30.9 percent from a peak of 101,050 in late August to 69,788, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Although, the Delta variant-fueled surge has been waning in Southern states, some states in the West and Midwest have seen increases.
Gottlieb told Reuters in a separate interview that soon the country will see more consistent declines.
‘It’s largely coursed its way through the U.S. and so, maybe by Thanksgiving, on the back-end of that, we’ll start to see prevalence levels nationally decline in a more uniform scale,’ he said.
Indeed, former virus hotspots have seen marked drops in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
In Tennessee, the seven-day rolling average of cases has fallen by 41 percent from 5,053 per day to 2,937 per day, state data show.
Hospitalizations for all ages have fallen from 3,175 two weeks ago to 2,156 on Tuesday, and specifically among pediatric patients from 48 two weeks ago to 36.
Even big cities, such as as Nashville, are seeing declines.
‘Nashville, we are seeing major improvements in our COVID trends. Average new daily cases are down over 50 percent in the past month,’ Mayor John Cooper tweeted on Monday.
‘COVID hospitalizations in Middle Tennessee are down 39 percent since the peak of the Delta surge.’
In Tennessee, the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases has fallen by 41 percent from 5,053 per day to 2,937 per day
Over the last two weeks in West Virginia, Covid infections have fallen from a seven-day rolling average of 1,747 per day to 1,076 per day, a 38% decline
However, vaccination rates are still low compared to the national average with 53.1 percent receiving at least one dose and 45.9 percent fully vaccinated, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show.
Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr Lisa Piercey said during a press briefing last week that she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ seeing cases decline, but urged people to continue getting their shots.
‘We are not going to boost our way out of this pandemic,’ Piercey said. ‘The single most effective way for us to end this pandemic is to get the unvaccinated vaccinated.’
West Virginia is also seeing a drop after weeks of reporting record-high cases and hospitalizations.
Over the last two weeks, Covid infections have fallen from a seven-day rolling average of 1,747 per day to 1,076 per day, a 38 percent decline.
Hospitalizations have lagged about one week behind cases, but have since declined from 975 two weeks ago to 892 on Tuesday.
‘Certainly, we know that hospitalization numbers are still high, although we have seen some positive trends,’ said Dr Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus czar, during a press conference on Monday.
‘We also know that people continue to get very ill when they get infected with this variant of COVID-19, particularly those who are not vaccinated.’
Vaccination rates are well below the national average with 48.3 percent of residents with at least one dose and 40.5 percent fully vaccinated, according to CDC figures.
‘Please get fully vaccinated so we can reduce the stress on our hospital systems,’ Marsh said.