- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2021

The U.S. is typically a few weeks behind Europe in COVID-19 trends but it is vaccinating so quickly that it is setting the pace for a recovery, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said Sunday.

Over the past year, Americans watched in horror as parts of Europe locked down or battled variants, only for the same troubles to reach U.S. shores weeks later.

But Dr. Scott Gottlieb sees things improving across the U.S., especially by April, even as Italy locks down again and Eastern Europe sees surges.

“I think the tables have turned and we’re ahead of Europe,” Dr. Gottlieb told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

He cited U.S. immunity from prior infection and the pace of vaccination, which exceeds most parts of the world.

Roughly 106 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have entered American arms out of about 354 million doses given globally across 121 countries, according to a Bloomberg News tracker.

Dr. Gottlieb said there will still be regional pockets of trouble as the nationwide picture improves. The virus is mutating as the pandemic drags on, resulting in aggressive variants that could zip through big population centers if the vaccine campaign doesn’t outpace them.

“New York is one of those parts of the country right now,” Dr. Gottlieb said. “New York does seem to be plateauing.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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