Dr. Scott Gottlieb: U.S. Covid vaccinations at ‘tipping level’ of helping turn the tide in pandemic

The tempo of Covid-19 unfold and the price of vaccinations over the subsequent few weeks are essential components in whether or not the U.S. can keep away from one other surge of coronavirus infections, Dr. Scott Gottlieb mentioned Monday.

“If we could just buy ourselves another couple of weeks and not really see a takeoff of infection anywhere in the country, I think we’ll be at the point where we’ll have enough vaccine in the population … that it’s going to be a pretty significant backstop — combined with the warming weather— against really a fourth wave” of infections,” Gottlieb mentioned, noting states are considerably widening vaccine eligibility.

“I believe we’ll obtain that,” added the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, who now sits on Pfizer‘s board of directors. “It’s just a little contact and go over the subsequent two weeks as a result of we’re seeing some rises in some components of the nation, nevertheless it’s most likely going to be regionalized. It’s most likely simply going to make certain states that see their circumstances go up.”

Roughly 28% of the U.S. population has received at least one Covid vaccine dose and 15.5% has been fully vaccinated, as of Sunday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots for full immunity protection, while Johnson & Johnson‘s is a single dose. Those are the only three cleared for emergency use in the U.S.

“When Israel hit about 25% of their inhabitants vaccinated, that is once they began to see the [case] declines that had been ascribed to the vaccination. We’re proper about at that tipping level,” Gottlieb said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The seven-day moving average of new infections is increasing in 30 states and Washington, D.C., according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Gottlieb pointed to Michigan, as well as the tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as regions where “we see issues.”

Overall, the country’s latest weekly average of daily new Covid cases is over 63,000, up 16% compared with the prior week, according to CNBC’s analysis. That remains well below the nation’s peak in early January of roughly 250,000.

For the seven-day period ended Friday, hospital admissions of Covid patients rose 4% from the prior week but were down more than 71% from early January, according to the CDC.

The U.S. averaged 970 Covid deaths per day over the past week, a decrease of 3% from the prior, CNBC’s analysis shows.

Last week, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a news briefing that America is “at the nook,” rather than turning the corner, in the fight against Covid.

CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion and biotech company Illumina. He also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean’s “Healthy Sail Panel.

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