“We’re transitioning from this being a pandemic to being more of an endemic virus, at least here in the United States and probably other Western markets,” Gottlieb said on “Squawk Box.” An endemic virus is one that remains in the American population at a relatively low frequency, like the seasonal flu, for example.
“It’s not a binary point in time, but I think after we get through this delta wave, this is going to become more of an endemic illness where you just see sort of a persistent infection through the winter … but not at the levels that we’re experiencing certainly right now, and it’s not necessarily dependent upon the booster shots,” Gottlieb added Friday.
“You’re going to see the delta wave course through probably between late September through October,” Gottlieb said. “Hopefully we’ll be on the other side of it or coming on the other side of it sometime in November, and we won’t see a big surge of infection after this on the other side of this delta wave.”
“This is a big country and the delta wave is going to sweep across the country in a regionalized fashion,” he said. “By September, hopefully you’ll see the other side of that curve in the South very clearly, but cases will be picking up in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, maybe the Pacific Northwest. … It’s probably going to coincide with a restart in school, some businesses returning if you look at last summer as well.”
“I think that this is a policy call as much as a public health call that U.S. officials want to continue trying to promote first vaccinations before they pivot to giving people booster shots,” Gottlieb said about the FDA’s Thursday announcement.
“I would be worried about nursing homes right now, the infection getting into those settings against the backdrop where you have a patient population that probably has declining immunity and is more vulnerable than they were certainly five months ago.”