A leading health expert believes the U.S. could see about four times its current rate of COVID-19 cases during the next four to six weeks amid the spread of the Delta variant and a lack of vaccinations.
Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN the U.S. is likely to follow a similar trajectory as the United Kingdom during its initial spread of the Delta variant, bringing "as many as 200,000 cases a day."
"We're heading into a rough time. It's likely, if our trajectory is similar to that in the United Kingdom, that we could see as many as 200,000 cases a day," said Dr. Frieden, noting that the U.S. likely wouldn't again see the "horrific death tolls" from earlier in the pandemic due to the number of vulnerable individuals now being vaccinated.
"You will see a steady increase in deaths, and these are preventable deaths," Dr. Frieden said.
The U.S. hasn't exceeded 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a one-day span since January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University via CNN.
The Delta variant is believed to be more transmissible than previous known strains of the coronavirus, with Dr. Frieden noting that it has essentially found individuals who remain unvaccinated.
As of Tuesday (July 27), only 49.1% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with daily vaccination rates slowing and only about two thirds of the eligible population having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC confirmed.