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Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Sunday predicted that the contagious, new strain of COVID-19 will account for the “majority” of cases in the US by March.
“There are some estimates that the new variant probably represents about 1 percent of all infections in this country. By March, it’s going to be the majority of infections,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Gottlieb said it will “grow quickly” and its arrival adds more pressure to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are distributed as soon as possible.
“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.
“There’s a lot of excess demand for the vaccine right now, particularly in the elderly population. I think we ought to think about moving quickly through these stages that we’ve delineated and start moving more quickly into a general vaccination program for those people who are 65 and above,” he continued.
At least three states — Colorado, California and Florida — have confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus, which first emerged in the United Kingdom.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the new variant of the coronavirus could be 70 percent more transmissible than other known strains.