The US ought to speed up approval of AstraZeneca vaccines earlier than new variants of Covid unfold, says Dr. Peter Hotez
Dr. Peter Hotez told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that people in the US shouldn’t get complacent about dropping Covid cases, especially in the face of new reports of a new variant, B.1.526, hitting New York spread.
“We’re all running high because the numbers are falling, and I say we are in the eye of the hurricane and the next big wave is coming,” said Hotez, co-director of the vaccine development center at Texas Children’s Hospital.
According to a CNBC analysis of the Johns Hopkins data, the average daily cases of coronavirus in the United States have decreased by about 57%. However, some states are not seeing such a sharp decline. Vermont is only down 22% averaging daily falls, New York is down about 45%, Oregon is down nearly 47%, and Florida is down 48% averaging daily. Hotez recognized Florida for distributing a highly transmissible variant of Covid in the state, which was first found in the UK
“The only state that really intrigues me, not necessarily in a good way, is Florida because we hear that about 10% of Florida-derived virus isolates are the UK-derived B.117 variant.” said Hotez in an interview on Wednesday night.
Hotez urged that now is the time for the US to really take a vaccination boost, especially before more variants of Covid spread. While AstraZeneca reported that it expects its vaccine to be approved in the US in April, Hotez said, “I think sometimes we have to think about making the beep” and should approve it sooner.