The former CDC director made a grim prediction about the rate of new daily COVID-19 cases we may see over the next six weeks.
“We’re heading into a rough time,” Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN. “It’s likely, if our trajectory is similar to that of the United Kingdom, that we could see as many as 200,000 cases a day.” The former CDC director added that given the number of people vaccinated in the US, we may not see the “horrific death tolls” like those earlier in the pandemic.
However, he noted, “You will see a steady increase in deaths, and these are preventable deaths.” If Frieden’s prediction is correct, the nation would experience a four fold increase in the number of current daily cases. The last time the US saw more than 200,000 daily cases was back in January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Experts point to the more transmissible Delta variant for the rise in cases, coupled with stagnant vaccination rates, and few indoor mask mandates. Only 49.1% of the American population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC and only two-thirds of eligible people have had at least one dose. Frieden told CNN that the Delta variant is basically “finding’ people who do not have the vaccine.
Some experts say it’s vaccinated people who are going to be impacted by those who choose not to get the vaccine.
“By people saying ‘I’m not going to get vaccinated,’ they’re actually choosing to endanger everybody else, and they are prolonging the pandemic,” CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.
The vaccine, Frieden said, still offers protection for those who received their doses. “For every (case) that ends in death in the coming weeks, there would have been hundreds that end in death if there hadn’t been vaccines.” Still, some warn that unvaccinated people drive the risk of additional variants being spread.
“Now we are at a point where there is a solid 25 or 30 percent of the population that’s saying they don’t want to get vaccinated, that they are okay with allowing this virus to continue to spread, continue to do harm and, worst of all, continue to possibly create variants that are going to be resistant to vaccine-induced immunity,” Director of Vaccine Education at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania Dr. Paul Offitt told the outlet.
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