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90% of the U.S. will have immunity to COVID-19 by Thanksgiving, expert says

The coronavirus pandemic might hit some levels of immunity by the fall

People in New York on Christmas day during 2020.
Pedestrians enjoy Times Square in New York on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. Close to 90% of the United States may have some form of COVID-19 immunity by the time the current delta variant wave finishes, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Close to 90% of the United States may have some form of COVID-19 immunity by the time the current delta variant wave finishes, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

  • “I’m optimistic that we’re peaking in COVID for the grim truth that the delta wave is so pervasive and infecting so many people that on the back end of this we’re going to have immunity in, at least, 85%, maybe 90% of the population,” Gottlieb said, per CNBC. “Some will have acquired that immunity through vaccination. Some will have acquired that immunity through infection. Some will have been both vaccinated and infected.”

The result of this surge — though dark, grim and not ideal — will be fewer chances for COVID-19 to spread among our population.

  • “On the back end of this, you’re going to have so much immunity in the population that the virus isn’t going away — I don’t think we’re going to reach true herd immunity where this just disappears — but it’s certainly not going spread at the kind of levels we’re seeing right now,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “The prevalence will decline.”

Gottlieb told CNN over the weekend that the delta wave will likely end by Thanksgiving.

  • “This delta wave is going to surge across the country and hit different regions at different times,” he said.

Gottlieb has had his eyes on the delta COVID-19 wave since early September. He said the Northeast might see a delta variant wave around Labor Day, which would mark the beginning of a true delta wave.

  • “I think our true delta wave is going to start to build after Labor Day here in the Northeast and the northern part of the country,” Gottlieb said on CNBC.

This past week, Gottlieb told CNN the ongoing COVID-19 surge might be the final wave of coronavirus cases.

  • “This delta wave is going to surge across the country and hit different regions at different times,” he told CNN.
  • “This may be the last major wave of infection,” he added.