While CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci insist that Americans must get vaccinated to protect "the children" from the delta variant (although the vaccines can't offer a guarantee of protection against it), it's refreshing to hear from another public health expert who disagrees with the official approach. Often since the start of the pandemic, former FDA chief (and Pfizer board member) Dr. Scott Gottlieb has shared his often divergent views on what's appropriate with CNBC and its competitors.
"The bottom line is, the vaccine does not make you impervious to infection," Gottlieb said during an appearance on CNBC. "There are some people who are developing mild and asymptomatic infections even after vaccination."
Although he acknowledges that the vaccine "does not make you impervious" to infection by delta, Dr. Gottlieb questioned whether the general guidance on mask-wearing is a smart strategy, claiming that returning to indoor mask-wearing in some areas would have only a "negligible impact" given the vaccination rates, even in the areas with lower vaccination rates and higher hospitalizations. Cases have been falling in UK and Europe, which many say portends a drop in the US as well.
"If you are vaccinated in a high prevalence area, in contact with virus, you think you might have the virus because you have mild symptoms--be prudent, get tested, maybe wear a mask especially if you are around a vulnerable person," says @ScottGottliebMD. pic.twitter.com/LFlMffkfe9— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) July 28, 2021
The US would get through the worst of the delta surge in a matter of weeks, Dr. Gottlieb predicted. Just look at the trend in the UK, where cases have rolled over completely. "I think in another two or three weeks we'll be through this," Dr. Gottlieb said.
Finally, he added that the new guidance from the CDC would likely have a "negligible impact" on public health and that federal officials should instead focus on more targeted messaging on guidance for high-risk areas.
"I don't think that's the case," he said. "I don't think we're going to get enough bang for our buck by telling vaccinated people they have to wear masks at all times to make it worth our while. I think we're further into this delta wave than we're picking up. I think in another two or three weeks we'll be through this."
Though he added that it's probably a good idea to mask up around an immuno-compromised individual, or somebody at heightened risk for infection.
"If you are vaccinated in a high prevalence area, in contact with virus, you think you might have the virus because you have mild symptoms--be prudent, get tested, maybe wear a mask especially if you are around a vulnerable person,"
On Wall Street and in the ivory towers of academia, many are predicting that delta won't penetrate very deeply despite the CDC's warnings about a "crisis of the unvaccinated". JPM and Goldman, among others, have projected that delta won't pose a substantial headwind to growth for any of the developed countries with high vaccination rates (Australia, notably, isn't in this group given it's low vaccination rate).