Former FDA commissioner predicts COVID-19 pandemic will become an endemic after Delta variant spread

Scott Gottlieb, ex-commissioner of the FDA. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Commissioner, told CNBC that he believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is soon going to be an endemic.

An endemic refers to an epidemic that is always present in a particular region but which is far less manageable than the common cold.

He said, "This is going be more of an endemic disease where you just sort of see sort of persistent infection through winter."

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Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of Food and Drug Administration, stated on Friday that he believes that the coronavirus epidemic will become an endemic.

The World Health Organization defines a pandemic as an epidemic that spreads rapidly across large areas of the globe. An endemic refers to an epidemic in a specific region that is always present, but it's much easier to control and predict than common cold or malaria.

Gottlieb stated that "we're transitioning this from being a pandemic virus to being more of endemic virus at least here in America," on CNBC's "Squawk box."

Gottlieb cautioned that the coronavirus will not be contained in all parts of the globe. He said that there will be a pandemic in many parts of the world without high vaccination rates.

Recently, a Duke University researcher told Nature, a British scientific publication, that they expect poorer countries to wait for two years before they have enough vaccines to provide sufficient immunity. According to Our World in Data, a scientific website, only 1.2% of those living in low-income countries have had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Gottlieb said, "It's not an absolute point in time but I believe that after we get past this Delta wave, this will become more of a endemic disease where you just sort of see a persistent infection throughout the winter." "But not at this level right now."

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Officials continue to urge all Americans to be vaccinated against coronavirus. This is especially true as the Delta variant continues its rise in different parts of the country. According to Johns Hopkins University data, 52% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

Gottlieb recently voiced concern for the US Northeast, stating that the region is especially vulnerable to another spike in positive COVID-19.

Gottlieb stated that the pandemic in the US is "certainly getting worse," and added that there are additional concerns due to the coming school year.

Gottlieb stated that while the northern states may be more resistant to the spread of the disease than the South, they are not entirely impervious. They have higher vaccination rates. They have had more previous infection. There are still vulnerable people in these states. The problem right now is that the spread of the infection will coincide with the opening school.

Gottlieb was the FDA commissioner under the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019. He is currently a member of the board at Pfizer, a vaccine manufacturer.

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