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The delta variant may create the ‘final wave’ in U.S., expert says

Will there be more COVID-19 surges this fall and winter?

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Kait Sorensen gives directions on how to do a saliva COVID-19 test.

Kait Sorensen, with the Utah Department of Health, gives Jeff Trusty directions on how to do a saliva COVID-19 test at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The current surge of coronavirus from the delta variant might be the final wave of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The current surge of coronavirus from the delta variant might be the final wave of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday.

Is delta the end of COVID-19?

Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC that he believes the delta variant surge will be the final big wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

  • “I don’t think COVID is going to be epidemic all through the fall and the winter. I think that this is the final wave, the final act, assuming we don’t have a variant emerge that pierces the immunity offered by prior infection or vaccination,” Gottlieb told CNBC.
  •  “This is probably going to be the wave of infection that ends up affecting the people who refuse to get vaccinated,” he added.

Gottlieb told CNBC that the current wave will infect unvaccinated people so much that “we’re going to reach some level of population-wide exposure to this virus, either through vaccination or through prior infection that’s going to stop circulating at this level, at this rate.”

Fears of a COVID-19 variant

As Gottlieb mentioned, there are some worries among experts that the novel coronavirus might mutate again, which could create a variant that would evade the COVID-19 vaccines and spell trouble for the country.

For example, Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Fox News Channel’s “The Story” that there will likely be a new variant in the United States this fall,

  • “Within, you know two, three, four months we’re going to have another variant and that variant’s going to be more infectious than the delta variant,” Redfield said.

Dr. Robert Paine III, a University of Utah pulmonologist, told the Deseret News in an email that vaccines and treatment methods will be key to stopping transmission rates of COVID-19, which could limit the variants that emerge.

  • “Increased ease of transmission means we need to be even more careful in protecting ourselves and our loved ones,” he said. “And the longer the virus is actively circulating in large numbers of patients, the greater the risk there will develop mutants that will evade the immune defenses from vaccines or prior infections.”