The former head of the Food and Drug Administration warned Sunday that there’s “no question” that there will be a surge in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving gatherings.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer, said he anticipates the uptick in cases already seen in more than a dozen states to continue after the Nov. 25 holiday.
“We’re going to see a post-holiday spike, there’s no question about that. People are exhausted right now, but we need to remain vigilant just for a little bit longer,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.”
Gottlieb said that particularly vulnerable to rising case numbers are regions that weren’t hit as hard by the latest Delta wave.
“If you’re in the southwest right now, you’re in the Great Lakes region, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, you’re in parts of New England or western Pennsylvania or northern New York, or certain mountain states like Colorado, things don’t look good,” he said.
“You haven’t experienced the Delta wave yet, and things are going to get worse before they get better,” he said.
New COVID-19 cases of have remained stable nationwide in recent weeks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday that the seven-day average was flat from the previous week at 73,300 infections.
But case numbers have risen in the past week in about 14 states, including Pennsylvania Vermont and New York, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Pennsylvania and Vermont recorded 79 and 42 percent increases, respectively, in their seven-day averages of cases, while New York saw a 24 percent jump, the data shows.
The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines will allow Americans to gather more safely this year for the holiday, but many more will be traveling as a report last month revealed an abysmal 40 percent of Transportation Security Administration workers remain unvaccinated against the virus.
Gottleieb said that believes that COVID-19 will start to become less of a threat thanks to the authorization of vaccines for younger ages and the possibility of new treatments.
“I think we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of declining prevalence on the back end of this Delta wave and also with the deployment of new technology that we have,” Gottlieb said.
“We now have orally available drugs that should be available in the first quarter. We have vaccines available to children. So, we see that point in time when this is going to still be a pervasive risk, COVID, but it’s not going to be the prevalent risk it is right now where it’s- where it’s- dominates our lives.”