Dr. Gottlieb sees that 30% of individuals within the US will get Covid on the finish of January and 10% will probably be vaccinated
Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Friday that by the end of the month, nearly a third of the nearly 331 million people in the United States could have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
The nationwide Covid-19 cases tracked by Johns Hopkins University on Friday morning totaled nearly 21.6 million. Gottlieb has often said that actual infections among Americans are much higher than the official number.
The former FDA commissioner in the Trump administration told Squawk Box that he believes that about 10% of the population could be vaccinated by Jan. 31. However, the launch of the vaccines in the US has been difficult, with only 5,919,418 doses administered as of Thursday morning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those projections have an impact on how quickly the coronavirus will continue to spread across the country, Gottlieb said, adding that the virus will burn itself as more people develop antibodies, whether from previous infection or a vaccine.
“It won’t go away, but its prevalence will go down,” admitted Gottlieb, who serves on the board of directors at Pfizer, which makes one of the two Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States. The other is made by Moderna.
“By the end of this month, we will likely have infected about 30% of the American public and possibly vaccinated another 10%, notwithstanding the very difficult introduction of the vaccine. They are starting to reach the level of previous exposure in the EU population that is Virus won’t spread anytime soon. “
Based on Gottlieb’s prediction that just over 99 million people in America have been infected since the novel virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. It would also mean that by the end of January approximately 33 million Americans will have received their starting doses.
Gottlieb’s comments come Friday as the US continues to face significant coronavirus outbreaks in states across the country. According to Johns Hopkins, the United States recorded more than 4,000 deaths from Covid-19 in one day for the first time on Thursday. At least 365,359 people in the US have died from Covid-19. The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in the nation is 228,497, a record high according to CNBC’s analysis of the Johns Hopkins data.
What life could be like next fall
While hopefully transmission of the virus will decrease over the course of the year, Gottlieb reiterated that Americans cannot simply live again as they did before the pandemic hit the world. But by the fall of 2021, he added that he believes that thanks to the wider adoption of Covid-19 vaccines, people will be able to travel more freely and return to the office more regularly.
“I think it’s a new normal where we’re much more vigilant about respiratory pathogens,” said Gottlieb. “We’re going back to work. We’re going to travel again, but we’re doing things differently.”
For example, people may still wear face masks, but they will likely do so voluntarily, Gottlieb predicts. The doctor also said that he believes taking temperature before entering public venues will be the order of the day.
“People are asked to fill out symptom questionnaires before they come to work, and they should stay home if they are not feeling well,” predicted Gottlieb. “Things are going to be different, at least for a cycle. I think we need to cycle with this, try to do normal things and prevent an outbreak.”
Gottlieb previously stressed that although people may be receiving one of the Covid-19 vaccines, which have shown strong effectiveness in preventing symptomatic diseases, more research and data are needed to determine whether the vaccines will prevent people from getting the coronavirus to transfer to each other.
“The vaccine is likely to prevent some people from becoming infected and is likely to reduce the likelihood of people becoming infected [from transmitting] the virus, “Gottlieb told CNBC earlier this week.” What we don’t know is the magnitude of this effect. “
Another reason caution is advised about the coronavirus this fall is that not everyone will be ready to take the vaccine, suggested Gottlieb on Friday.
“We have to understand that it will be difficult to vaccinate the public. At the moment there is more demand than supply,” said Gottlieb. “But at some point, and probably sooner rather than later, there will be more supply than demand and we will really have to work on it.”
In the fall and winter of this year, Gottlieb expects the intensity of the Covid-19 outbreak to resemble a difficult flu season. According to the CDC, between 12,000 and 61,000 people have died from seasonal flu every year in the US since 2010.
“I think the best scenario is that it looks like a really bad flu season where we don’t have hundreds of thousands of Covid deaths, but there will be tens of thousands,” he said. “We’re not going to erase that completely.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, the genetic testing startup Tempus, and the biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.