Scott Gottlieb joins the governor for a COVID briefing

The weekly numbers show Connecticut’s COVID cases seem to have peaked and are trending down, signaling to former Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb that the virus will enter an endemic state in the near future. 

Gottlieb, an advisor to Gov. Ned Lamont, joined him for a virtual press briefing on the subject Thursday. 

“When you look at the leading indicators they’re certainly improving very quickly,” Gottlieb said. 

Gottlieb had predicted that Delta would be the last major variant and then came Omicron. 

“Now there seems to be more of a consensus building that this Omicron wave may well be the last major wave of infection,” Gottlieb said. “This may become the dominant lineage as we go forward and we’re going to be heading into more of an endemic picture as we get later into this year. But that’s not a forgone conclusion at this point, but I think more of the consensus is starting to form around this. So what does that look like?” 

He said there’s a belief that if there’s a vaccine specific to Omicron that it could restore the ability to substantially reduce transmission and it becomes a much more important public health tool. 

The numbers show that as of Wednesday in Connecticut there have been 136,171 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated individuals. That’s about 5.35 percent of the total number of vaccinated people in the state. An estimated 423 vaccinated individuals have died from the virus. 

As of Thursday, 1,733 patients were currently hospitalized with the virus. The state’s test positivity rate was 13.29%, down from a high of more than 24%. 

But there are still concerns about the spread of the virus in congregate settings. 

Over the last two weeks, there have been 1,616 confirmed cases among nursing home residents and 58 deaths among residents over the last two weeks. During that same time there have been 1,850 cases among nursing home staff. 

Beginning this Saturday visitors to nursing homes in Connecticut must show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter. 

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Wednesday that requires vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either a rapid antigen test that was completed within the previous 48 hours or a PCR test that was completed within the previous 72 hours.

“We know that some of the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 include those who live in nursing homes, which is why we need to be doing everything we can to protect them from this virus,” Lamont said. “This is one more precaution we can implement at these facilities to keep them safe.”