Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb is warning that the “true Delta wave” has yet to begin in the Northeast — and predicted it would start soon after Labor Day.
“I think there’s sort of a perception that we’re sort of through this Delta wave here in the Northeast because we’ve seen Delta cases go up and go down in places like the New York metropolitan region. We’re also seeing positive [tests] come down,” said Dr. Gottlieb, the former head of the federal Food and Drug Administration, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.
But Gottlieb said he doesn’t think the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases was the “true Delta wave.
“I think that that was a Delta warning,” he said. “I think our true Delta wave is going to start to build after Labor Day here in the Northeast and the northern part of the country.”
Gottlieb said he believes that people gathering for Labor Day festivities and kids returning to school soon after will serve as “incubators for spread.
“Now whether we see a wave of infection as dense and severe as the South, I don’t think that’s going to be the case because we have a lot more vaccination; we’ve had a lot of prior infection, which we also know is protective,” he said. “But we will probably see a build in cases here in the Northeast. I don’t think that we’re done with this.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had urged unvaccinated people not to travel over Labor Day weekend and warned everyone to consider the risks amid the spread of the Delta variant.
“Given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take their own these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling,” Walensky said last week during a White House COVID-19 briefing. “If you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling.”
The seven-day average of new cases in the US is 129,000 cases per day — a whopping jump over July — while virus-related hospitalizations remained relatively steady at 11,500 daily, according to CDC data Thursday.