ORLANDO, Fla. – With the increase of COVID-19 cases -- and the delta variant now the dominant strain in the United States -- many are eyeing the way the variant is impacting the U.K. as a possible indicator of when the U.S. could see its peak.
The delta variant, first identified in India, quickly became the dominant strain in the U.K. and was named a variant of concern in the U.S. near the end of June. The delta variant accounts for more than 80% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
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In an interview with CNBC, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he expects the U.S. to begin seeing a decline in cases in two to three weeks, based on the U.K.’s current timeline.
“If the U.K. is turning the corner, it’s a pretty good indication that maybe we’re further into this than we think and maybe we’re two or three weeks away from starting to see our own plateau here in the United States,” he told CNBC.
Data from the Public Health England agency shows an increase beginning in late May with a significant jump in cases on June 14 from nearly 7,000 cases to over 10,000 cases, and another jump reported on June 21 from nearly 10,000 cases to nearly 16,000 in England.
According to the Associated Press, as of July 27, the U.K. overall has seen a falling number of COVID-19 cases for the last seven days. On July 21, the U.K. reported 44,104 new cases but a week later, it was seeing 27,734 new cases. Despite falling cases in the U.K., the data has not yet shown possible implications of the lifting of restrictions, which happened on July 19.
Florida has been leading the country in new COVID-19 cases for two straight weeks. As of the last update from the state health department, Florida reported over 73,000 new cases, averaging nearly 10,500 cases per day in the seven-day report. At the peak of the coronavirus in January, the state’s seven-day average hit 17,000 new daily cases.
As a result of the rising cases and many parts of the country showing high levels of community transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance for vaccinated individuals to advise wearing masks in indoor spaces where the delta variant is fueling infection surges.