Saturday September 18, 2021

‘Delta variant outbreak likely more prevalent than data shows’

July 27, 2021

News Desk

ISLAMABAD: In a televised interview Sunday, Dr Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned COVID-19’s resurgence in the United States is likely more pervasive than reported data suggests due to undocumented cases, but said that may actually mean the nation is close to “turning the corner” on the new Delta variant outbreak in the coming weeks—at least based on its trajectory in the United Kingdom, reported foreign media. “I believe there’s more virus than we’re picking up right now,” Gottlieb said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, pointing to factors likely skewing reported case counts lower, such as the growth of at-home antigen tests that aren’t reported to the government and a rise in infections among younger Americans still able to transmit the virus but more likely to be asymptomatic.

He said the possible dearth in unreported cases could mean the nation is “much further” into the Delta variant outbreak than case counts show and forecasted that the US could start seeing new cases, which have been steadily rising since the beginning of this month, level off in the next two to three weeks. Gottlieb based his prediction on the trajectory of the United Kingdom’s Deltaspurred outbreak, saying the US is about three to four weeks behind in terms of the rate of infections, which rose there for about seven weeks but started to fall on Thursday. He said experts “don’t have a good sense” about how exactly the case counts could transpire but referenced a prediction by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that new weekly cases, currently at about 350,000, could total anywhere from 92,000 to 800,000 infections in the week ending August 14.