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The new COVID-19 variant will be ‘majority’ of cases by March, expert says

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said COVID-19 variant will replace current mutation.

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Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said COVID-19 variant will replace current mutation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said over the weekend that the majority of COVID-19 cases in March will come from the new strain of the virus.

What’s going on?

Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the new COVID-19 variant will continue to spread throughout the country and represent the majority of cases by March.

  • “There are some estimates that the new variant probably represents about 1% of all infections in this country. By March, it’s going to be the majority of infections.”

He said the mutation will “grow quickly.” And its arrival puts more pressure to get the vaccine out to the public.

  • “I think the existence of this new variant that spreads more readily really creates more urgency around trying to get this vaccine out more quickly and get more people vaccinated — even if it’s more general population,” Gottlieb said.

Getting the vaccine out

Gottlieb also pushed for the vaccine to be distributed to major pharmaceutical companies like CVS, Walgreens and others, giving everyone direct access.

  • “Make the vaccine more generally available through the retail pharmacies, through Walmart and Walgreens and CVS to a broader population, to a general population starting with age,” Gottlieb said in an interview on the “Face the Nation” program. “We can walk it down the age continuum, make it available for 75 and above first, then 70 and above, and 65 and above. There’s 50 million Americans 65 and above, a large percentage of them probably want to be vaccinated. At some point, we need to allow supply to meet demand here and get the shots into the arms of the people who really want to get vaccinated and are going to go out and seek out the vaccination.”

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said in a new interview with “Today” that he agreed with this idea.

  • “I think that’s a great idea and we appreciate the partnership with CVS, Walgreens and our other pharmacy partners who know how to do this. We don’t need to re-create the wheel, we just need to get it rolling.”