WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 25: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testified during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UPDATED 3:47 PM PT – Sunday, January 17, 2021
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview Sunday that the new COVID-19 variant discovered in the United Kingdom will likely be the dominant strain in America within a few weeks.
Gottlieb said the number of infections from the new strain will likely double each week.
The new variant currently makes up about .5 percent of infections across the U.S.
Gottlieb explained a possible silver lining is that, because many people have already been infected with COVID-19, both herd immunity and the numerous vaccines will help soften the impacts.
“The only backstop against this new variant is that we will have a lot of infection by then, so there will be a lot of immunity in the population,” Gottlieb said. “But this really changes the equation.”
Whereas infections were expected to plummet in the spring thanks to the vaccines, Gottlieb said they are now likely to stay consistently high until most people get vaccinated.