Former Food and Drug Administration boss Scott Gottlieb praised the U.S. coronavirus vaccine rollout Sunday, calling it “a monumental achievement” that is partially why the U.S. has not fallen victim to massive coronavirus outbreaks driven by more infectious and dangerous virus mutations, like in India.
“The situation in the U.S. continues to improve and I think in the coming weeks we’re going to see an acceleration of the declining cases . . . [and] one of the big reasons is vaccination,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ Face The Nation Sunday.
Gottlieb used San Francisco as an example to show the benefits of widespread vaccination: In January, the city was counting more than 300 new coronavirus cases a day, and now that nearly half of adult residents have been fully vaccinated, San Francisco only counts around 20 new daily cases.
While Gottlieb expects the rate of vaccinations to slow over the next few weeks, he said health officials will continue to “chip away” at immunizing the millions of Americans who have not yet been vaccinated.
Vaccinations have also protected the U.S. from coronavirus mutations that have wreaked havoc in places like India, which is dealing with the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak experts say was largely caused by a new, more infectious coronavirus variant.
“The same mutations that are arising in other parts of the world are arising here as well,” Gottlieb said. “They just haven’t gotten a foothold here, in part because we’ve been vaccinating our public.”
Nearly one in three Americans have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while more than half have received at least one dose. New daily coronavirus cases have continued to decline since reaching a peak in January. The U.S. last week sent aid in the form of medical supplies to India last week as the country grappled with a devastating coronavirus outbreak. India reported more than 400,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday alone, a single-day record. The outbreak is believed to have been driven by a new variant that is more transmissible.