On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that we haven’t seen “evidence in other countries that the Delta variant has been more pathogenic, it’s been more dangerous in children or adults for that matter.” And said he thinks that the recent hospitalizations among children are due to more children becoming infected due to the variant’s higher transmissibility, not due to the variant making children sicker.
Gottlieb said, “[W]e haven’t seen evidence in other countries that the Delta variant has been more pathogenic, it’s been more dangerous in children or adults for that matter. … But it’s hard to tell. Because we don’t know how many people are being infected. I suspect that there’s far more infection happening in the United States than what we’re picking up. We might only be diagnosing one in ten to one in 20 cases right now. And so, the question is, are the hospitalizations we’re seeing, the tragic hospitalizations we’re seeing among children representative of the fact that this virus is more pathogenic in kids, or is it the tip of a very large iceberg and a lot of kids are getting infected right now, a very small percentage are becoming hospitalized not out of proportion to past waves of this infection? But what we’re missing, what we don’t understand is just how many kids are being infected. I suspect it’s the latter. I think there’s a lot more Delta infection around the country right now than we’re picking up. A lot of it’s happening in young people, who aren’t presenting for testing because they’re getting mild illness, or it’s happening in vaccinated people who also are developing mild disease and don’t suspect that they have COVID because they’ve been vaccinated. So, to the extent that more of the infection is happening in situations where people are getting milder symptoms and not presenting for testing, we might not be picking up a lot of the infection. And final point, a lot of the testing that’s getting done now is getting done at home with home tests and not getting reported.”
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