Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday that he believes the Covid source based on delta variants that hit South America has reached the top.
“I think there was an indication that the South was on edge, and I think it’s pretty clear now the South has culminated,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said. “It doesn’t feel that way because we always have a lot of new infections on a daily basis, and hospitals still have a few weeks that last a long time,” he acknowledged. “They’re still going to be maximized as infections begin to subside.”
Gottlieb’s comments on “Squawk Box” came as the average of seven days of new coronavirus infections each day in the United States totaled about 147,300, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University . It grew 13% from a week ago.
Many southern states, particularly in areas with lower Covid vaccination rates such as Louisiana and Arkansas, have been among the first places in the United States to see a strong increase in variant-linked coronavirus infections. highly transmissible delta. The signs that the current wave of infection is settling in the South may offer an insight into the experiences of other American regions that were hit by the delta variant a few weeks later.
“Look at states like Arkansas and Louisiana, you see that houses are falling apart,” said Gottlieb, who serves on the advice of vaccine manufacturer Covid Pfizer. The company’s vaccine received full FDA approval Monday morning.
According to CNBC analysis of Hopkins data, the seven-day average of nine Covid infections a day in Arkansas fell 0.5% from a week ago, meaning it is more or less stable. In Louisiana, new cases of coronavirus each day have dropped 14% from a week ago, based on an average of seven days, CNBC analysis found.
Other metrics inform Gottlieb’s view on the South. The former FDA chief, who led the drug regulator from 2017 to 2019 in the Trump administration, also indicated the estimated transmission rates in the southern states that are calculated by the website covidestim.org.
I run from public health researchers at Harvard and Yale universities, the project provides real-time estimates on an epidemiological concept known as the R0, or R nothing. When the R is zero 1, it means that the average person who is infected with coronavirus will transmit it to another person. When the value is less than 1 for a particular location, it signals the downward transmission of a disease.
“The rate of expansion of this epidemic is below 1 in most of the South,” including Florida, Gottlieb said, “which shows a contracting epidemic.”
Florida has established a series of nine record highs for coronavirus infections each day during its delta-sparkling wave, and hospitals in the state had been pushed to the limit. At one point in early August, Florida made about 20% of the new Covid cases reported in the U.S. CNBC analysis of Hopkins data shows that the seven-day average of new coronavirus infections in Florida is more or less stable, down 0.67% from a week ago.
“If you look at the data in Florida, the number of cases goes down day by day for all age categories, except children under the age of 18, because now you see fires in schools that lead to infection,” Gottlieb said. . “If schools weren’t open in Florida … and you didn’t see that focus on kids, Florida would come very clearly in terms of day-to-day homes.”
In late July, Gottlieb told CNBC that he thought the United States in general would begin to see a plan for its delta-driven wave by mid-to-late August. That is not happening.
More recently, on August 13, he said: “You will go to see the delta wave course through probably between the end of September to October.” Even during that interview, he added, “Hopefully we’ll be on the other side or we’ll be on the other side sometime in November, and we won’t see a big wave of infection after that on the other side of this delta wave. “.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a board member of Pfizer, Tempus ’genetic testing start-up, healthcare technology company Aetion Inc. and biotech companies Illuminate. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Lineand Royal Caribbean“Whole Sailing Panel.”