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Parts of U.S. could see “very dense outbreaks” as Delta COVID-19 variant spreads, Gottlieb says

Washington — As the U.S. continues to navigate its method via the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the previous commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, mentioned areas of the nation could expertise “very dense outbreaks” with the regarding Delta variant persevering with to flow into. 

“It’s going to be hyper-regionalized, where there are certain pockets of the country [where] we can have very dense outbreaks,” Gottlieb mentioned Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”  

The most susceptible areas proceed to be these with low vaccination charges and low charges of immunity from prior infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many southern states have vaccination charges that lag behind the nationwide common.

“I think as you look across the United States, if you’re a community that has low vaccination rates and you also think that there was low immunity from prior infection, so the virus really hasn’t coursed through the local population, those communities are vulnerable,” he mentioned. “So, I think governors need to be thinking about how they build out health care resources in areas of the country where you still have a lot of vulnerability.”  

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a state the place hospital admissions are up 30%, expressed concern concerning the Delta COVID-19 variant and low vaccination charges in his state.   

“The Delta variant is a great concern to us. We see that impacting our increasing cases and hospitalizations,” Hutchinson mentioned on “Face the Nation.” The governor additionally famous that vaccine hesitancy is excessive in his state, which he attributed to conspiracy theories, the pause in Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot routine in April and people merely not believing within the efficacy of the virus.

The Delta variant, first found in India, has now been present in 49 states and Washington, D.C. The variant is extra transmissible and may result in extra extreme illness than different strains of the coronavirus.

In the U.K., the Delta variant now accounts for 99% of new COVID circumstances, based on Public Health England. Gottlieb says the US is barely a month or two behind the U.K. in phrases of their expertise with the variant.  

“They’re seeing cases grow. They’re certainly not taking off with the same velocity that we’ve seen in past epidemics. The other thing that we’re observing about the U.K. experience right now is it’s not having the same impact. So they’ve had about 90,000 cases, they’ve had about 1,000 hospitalizations. The vast majority are in people who are unvaccinated. Only 8% of people who have been fully vaccinated are among the hospitalized patients,” Gottlieb mentioned. “And so you have a situation where you have a population that has more immunity, not just through vaccination, but also through prior infection. So it’s not having the same impact in terms of causing severe death and disease as it was during the last epidemic.”