(FiveNation.com)- According to Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the surge caused by the Omicron variant should reach its peak by mid-February.
Gottlieb, who once served as an FDA commissioner, gets a lot of air time from cable news outlets who conveniently play up his former association with the FDA while completely ignoring that he serves on Pfizer’s board of directors.
Last week, he appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box where he predicted that new cases in the areas currently hardest hit by Omicron might start slowing down in the next week or so. And once Omicron moves through the other parts of the country, it should taper off by mid-February.
"I think we're going to be through this certainly by mid-February. That's going to become more apparent as we get into next week," says @ScottGottliebMD on #omicron wave in the United States. pic.twitter.com/vD2iUQ1sQW
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) January 5, 2022
Of course, Gottlieb’s predictions alone should be taken with a grain of salt. He is frequently wrong. And like Tony Fauci, Gottlieb often contradicts himself.
In February 2021, Gottlieb said COVID will become endemic by the end of the year if we control the spread by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and social distancing. One month later, Gottlieb said the social distancing requirement was “the costliest mitigation tactic” of the pandemic response.
But in this instance, Gottlieb’s prediction reflects what has been seen in South Africa where the Omicron variant first reared its head in late November. Already, the surge in South Africa caused by Omicron has abated.
In December, CNN reported that South Africa’s Omicron surge had already passed its peak and cases were declining. Because Omicron is highly infectious, the wave in cases was significantly steep, but also much shorter.
And because Omicron is far milder, it doesn’t leave as much destruction in its wake. According to South African doctors, hospitalizations and deaths from the Omicron variant were significantly lower than previous COVID outbreaks.
This trend is reflected in the US as well. For example, while COVID cases are surging again in Florida, the number of hospital admissions is half of what it was when COVID first broke in 2020.