By Joseph Chalfant

Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb claimed that the U.S. could be approaching the peak of the coronavirus’s Delta variant spread.

He has based his claim on data seen from the U.K.’s downturn in COVID cases. Government data indicated that the country had skyrocketed to a 47,460 seven-day average for new cases in mid-July, which has recently plummeted to just 29,173 on July 25, according to Reuters.

Gottlieb believes that the U.S. will see a similar spike in two to three weeks and then a comparable downturn, according to CNBC.

“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,” said Gottlieb.

Gottlieb theorized that the number of cases in the U.S. could be significantly underreported. The emergence of at-home testing has resulted in fewer numbers being reported to government agencies. Additionally, Americans may be avoiding testing due to their age or vaccination status. As a result, the country may be further into the Delta wave than expected.

“Our ascertainment— the percentage of people who are presenting for testing and actually getting recorded— is quite low right now, so this infectious wave must be far more pervasive than what we’re detecting, which means we’re further into it than what we believe,” Gottlieb told CNBC.

Gottlieb’s prediction may provide some relief from business owners across the country. As other countries across the world have sunk into a second lockdown, most notably in Australia, many Americans have been worried that a second domestic lockdown could lead to further job loss and a prolonging of the crippled pandemic economy amid rising inflation.

Gottlieb’s timetable could run into conflict once the new school year begins in August. In his CNBC interview, Gottlieb expressed fears that increased local transmission rates could prolong the pandemic even further.

“We’ll be turning a corner right at the point that schools start to reopen, and my concern is that schools reopening could cause sort of a second bump in cases, or could look like a pattern where you start to see a decline and then it levels out because the reopening of the schools becomes a source of local transmission, and we don’t quite get out of it as quickly as we would’ve,” said Gottlieb.