The U.S. may be further into Delta surge than it appears

·1 min read

Just how far along into the latest Delta variant-fueled coronavirus surge is the United States? No one knows for sure, but former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is hopeful the country can "turn a corner" in just two or three weeks, he told CBS News' John Dickerson on Sunday's edition of Face the Nation.

There's a couple of reasons behind the relatively optimistic outlook. For starters, Gottlieb, who has criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's wide-ranging forecasts for the current wave, believes it's likely there are a lot of mild or subclinical infections in the U.S., which means the number of cases picked up by testing is probably an underestimate of the virus' actual spread. He's also looking across the pond to the United Kingdom, where cases appear to be trending downward again after rising for several weeks. The U.K., Gottlieb noted, has been a few weeks ahead of the U.S. so far and could serve as a sneak preview of the national trajectory.

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver also thinks it's worth paying attention to the U.K., as well as India, where the Delta variant originated. Their most recent waves were big ones, but they did appear to turn around quite quickly.

Of course, the U.K. needs to show that it can sustain its recent drop, and either way, the U.S. will likely have a less cohesive path out of the latest wave given the disparate vaccination rates across the country.

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