Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA.
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  • Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC he believes the Covid-19 pandemic will soon be an endemic.
  • An endemic is an outbreak that's always present in particular regions but far more manageable, like the common cold.
  • "This is going to become more of an endemic illness where you just see sort of a persistent infection through the winter," he said.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Friday that he believes the coronavirus pandemic will morph into an endemic.

A pandemic is classified by the World Health Organization as a fast-spreading disease outbreak that covers wide swaths of the world. An endemic is an outbreak in particular regions that's always present but far easier to predict and control, like the common cold or malaria.

"We're transitioning from this being a pandemic to being more of an endemic virus, at least here in the United States and probably other western markets," Gottlieb said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Still, Gottlieb warned that other parts of the world will continue to have difficulty containing the coronavirus. "There's still going to be a pandemic in a lot of parts of the world where you don't have high vaccination rates," he said.

A Duke University researcher recently told Nature, a British scientific journal, that they forecast poorer countries will have to wait two years to have enough vaccines for their populations to reach sufficient immunity. Our World in Data, an online scientific publication, says only about 1.2% of people living in low-income countries have received at least one dose against the coronavirus.

"It's not a binary point in time, but I think after we get through this Delta wave, this is going to become more of an endemic illness where you just see sort of a persistent infection through the winter," Gottlieb added. "But not at the levels we're experiencing right now."

Officials are still urging all Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, especially as the Delta variant continues to spike in various parts of the country. About 52% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Gottlieb has recently raised the alarm for the US Northeast, saying the region is particularly susceptible to another surge in positive Covid-19 cases.

In an interview aired last week with CBS' "Face the Nation," Gottlieb said the pandemic is "certainly getting worse" in the US with additional concerns stemming from the upcoming school year.

"I think the northern states are more impervious to the kind of spread we saw in the South, but they're not completely impervious," Gottlieb said. "They have higher vaccination rates. There's been more prior infection. But there's still people who are vulnerable in those states. And the challenge right now is that the infection is going to start to collide with the opening of school."

Gottlieb served as FDA commissioner from 2017 to 2019 under the Trump administration. He is now a board member at vaccine manufacturer Pfizer, among other companies.


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