Former FDA Commissioner Says COVID-19 Delta Variant Spreading Rapidly in U.S. (UPDATE)

Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that the coronavirus strain known as the Delta variant is likely to become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S.

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UPDATED 6/14/21, 5:56 p.m. ET: A new study from Public Health England suggests that 2 shots of either the Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine are extremely effective against hospitalization of the virus’ Delta variant.

Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 96 percent effective, and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 92 percent effective, according to the analysis.

“These hugely important findings confirm that the vaccines offer significant protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant,” Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE said in a statement. “The vaccines are the most important tool we have against COVID-19. Thousands of lives have already been saved because of them.”

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that a coronavirus straight known as the Delta Variant is quickly on its way to becoming the dominant strain in the U.S.

“Right now, in the United States, it’s about 10% of infections. It’s doubling every two weeks,” Gottlieb told CBS’ Face the Nation. “That doesn’t mean that we’re going to see a sharp uptick in infections, but it does mean that this is going to take over. And I think the risk is really to the fall that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall.”

“The risk is really in the fall, that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall,” @ScottGottliebMD says of Delta variant of COVID-19. “We have the tools to control this and defeat it, we just need to use them.

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 14, 2021

Gottlieb maintained the risk of new outbreaks is most pronounced in the parts of the country that have low vaccination rates.

“I think in parts of the country where you have less vaccination, particularly in parts of the South, where you have some cities where vaccination rates are low, there’s a risk that you could see outbreaks with this new variant,” Gottlieb said.

The World Health Organization designated Delta as a variant of interest in April and a variant of concern in May.

First detected in India, the Delta variant is already widely considered the dominant strain in the U.K. after experiencing rapid spread.

“In the U.K., the Delta variant is rapidly emerging as the dominant variant, greater than 60 percent,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS last week. “It is replacing the B.1.1.7. … We cannot let that happen in the United States.”

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