Gottlieb says cases will decline, vaccinations monumental achievement

A vaccination center displays signs and age groups for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as California reveals eligibility to vaccinate all residents 16 and older during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Chula Vista, California, United States on April 15 2021.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottleib said Sunday that a steep decline in new Covid-19 cases in the US is likely to continue and predicted a “relatively calm summer in terms of the spread of coronavirus” .

“Look, the situation in the US continues to improve, and I think the decline in cases will accelerate in the coming weeks,” Gottlieb said on CBS News’ Face the Nation.

The doctor credited the mass vaccination campaign launched under President Donald Trump and continued under President Joe Biden to help stem the spread of the disease.

“This was a monumental achievement – the introduction of this vaccine, the vaccination of so many Americans – and it will go on,” said Gottlieb. “We will keep working on it. The vaccination rate will slow down in the coming weeks. But we will continue to take in more people when we come into the summer.”

To date, more than 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or nearly a third of the population. Approximately 146 million people, or 44% of the population, received at least one dose.

The rate of vaccine administration has declined slightly in the past few weeks after months of spike after receiving one for most of the people who were most likely to want a shot.

As more Americans got vaccines, cases of Covid-19 have fallen sharply. As of Saturday, the 7-day average of daily new cases fell to below 50,000, a decrease of 17% compared to the previous week. Hospital stays and deaths due to the disease are also decreasing.

To get a feel for what might be coming up for the US, Gottlieb said it might be helpful to check out heavily vaccinated San Francisco.

“About 71% of the people in San Francisco had at least one dose of the vaccine, 47% were fully vaccinated. They record about 20 cases a day. You have about 20 people hospitalized,” Gottlieb said.

“They have dramatically reduced Covid in this city and it is largely the result of vaccinations,” he added.

From a financial point of view, Gottlieb suggested that the profits from vaccination were “stalled” and “fairly sustainable”.

“We are entering warm months in which this will create a setback against the spread of the coronavirus, and we are securing these profits,” said Gottlieb.

Even if the health situation in the USA is on the verge of normal, it is deteriorating in other countries with fewer resources. In India, the new daily cases exceeded 400,000 on Saturday, a record.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotech company Illumina. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.

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