Ex-FDA Chief Estimates Up To 1 Mn Covid Cases Daily In US: Report
New York: With the Delta variant driving a surge in Covid-19 cases across the US, former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, believes the Covid is significantly more widespread in the country, the media reported.
Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 in the Donald Trump administration, estimates that up to 1 million Americans are infected with Covid daily as the Delta variant spreads.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, on the whole, we’re infecting up to a million people a day right now, and we’re just picking up may be a 10th of that or less than a 10th of that,” Gottlieb told CBNC in an interview on Friday.
The current seven-day average of daily Covid cases in the US is roughly 67,000, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
That’s up 53 per cent compared to a week ago, as the country grapples with a surge in new infections driven largely by Delta, which was first discovered in India and is now the dominant variant in the US, the report said.
“Most of the spread and most of the people who are showing up in the hospital are younger people,” Gottlieb said in the interview.
“If that’s where the infection is occurring, then there must be a lot more infections underneath the small numerator that’s showing up in the hospital,” Gottlieb added.
The highest seven-day day average of new Covid cases recorded in the US was roughly 251,000 on January 8, according to CNBC’s analysis.
Case counts had dropped dramatically in the spring as the country’s vaccination campaign picked up speed, the report said.
But in recent weeks, as cases in the US again started to accelerate, Gottlieb said a large number of Covid infections were likely going unreported, partly because the testing landscape is different now than at previous stages during the pandemic, the report added.