Speed Reads

it's going down

What Delta variant trends in the U.K. foreshadow for the U.S.

The U.K.'s Delta variant-driven COVID-19 surge is seeing an encouraging "plunge" in cases, with numbers dropping for five days in a row, per Politico. Experts and officials reportedly haven't "the foggiest" idea of the exact cause of the plummet (perhaps a combination of vaccines, seasonality, and the end of the Euros), but it nonetheless has serious — and hopefully positive — implications for caseloads in the U.S.

"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," former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. "There's a very clear trend down. It seems like they've peaked," he emphasized earlier.

Gottlieb's analysis would be good news for the White House. Senior Biden administration officials are "carefully monitoring" the Delta variant's U.K. trajectory as a sort of "canary in the coal mine" for U.S. odds, reports The Washington Post. If Britain can continue to reopen "without a new wave of hospitalizations and lockdowns," America can likely attempt to do the same. However, if the opposite proves true, the less-vaccinated U.S. is expected to struggle, per the Post. So far, officials are reportedly "encouraged" by the U.K.'s hospitalization and mortality rates, "which have stayed relatively low even as case rates have soared."

However, it is possible the U.S. could turn a corner right as schools start to open, which Gottlieb is concerned could lead to "a sort of second bump in cases," per CNBC. It's "the only challenge" he cites against the U.S., but he notes the outcome "remains to be seen." Read more at CNBC and The Washington Post.