The novel coronavirus hasn’t gone away just yet. In fact, it’s still very much out there. So much that experts have figured out how the spread will continue in the United States — dense outbreaks.
What is a ‘dense outbreak?’
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, recently said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that the U.S. is primed for “dense outbreaks” to hit regions of the country.
- “It’s going to be hyper-regionalized, where there are certain pockets of the country (where) we can have very dense outbreaks,” Gottlieb said.
- These “dense outbreaks” could swarm through areas where there is a low vaccination rate, he said.
Gottlieb said low vaccination rates and low immunity from previous infections might be a recipe for a large outbreak of a new variant.
- “I think as you look across the United States, if you’re a community that has low vaccination rates and you also think that there was low immunity from prior infection, so the virus really hasn’t coursed through the local population, those communities are vulnerable,” he said. “So, I think governors need to be thinking about how they build out health care resources in areas of the country where you still have a lot of vulnerability.”
Concerns over the delta variant
Experts remain concerned about the spread of the dangerous delta coronavirus variant, which could dominate the United States pretty soon, as I wrote for the Deseret News. There’s concern that delta variant cases are on the rise, outpacing the alpha variant, which was originally discovered in the United Kingdom.
- “It definitely is of concern,” William Lee, vice president of science at Helix, which helps the Centers for Disease Control track variants, told NPR.
- “Just the fact that it’s so transmissible means that it’s dangerous, and so I think you’ll see outbreaks of delta around the country and more people will get sick from it,” he added.
Vivek Cherian, an internal medicine physician in Baltimore, told Insider that the vaccinated are protected against the variants, for the most part. But the unvaccinated could be hit hard with the variant, causing more variants to be born.
- “The worst-case scenario is if delta mutates into something completely different, a completely different animal, and then our current vaccines are even less effective or ineffective,” Cherian told Insider.