"I think this Delta wave… is probably the last major surge of SARS-CoV-2 infection that we have in the US, barring something unexpected happening," said Gottlieb, author of 'Uncontrolled Spread', a new book on the U.S. response to the pandemic.
Gottlieb said that although Delta is waning in Southern U.S. states, infections are picking up in some states in the West and Midwest, citing Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.
"I think probably by Thanksgiving, it's largely coursed its way through the U.S., and so maybe by Thanksgiving, on the back end of that, we'll start to see prevalence levels nationally decline in a more uniform scale," he said.
"I think the big question mark is what happens in the Northeast," said Gottlieb, noting that infections there have only picked up slightly.
"So far, we aren't seeing infections pick up a lot. They're picking up some of the Northeast. I still think that Delta is going to sweep through the Northeast, notwithstanding our high rates of vaccination here, and high, high rates of prior infection," he said.
Gottlieb, who serves on the Pfizer board of directors, which co-developed the mRNA vaccine Comirnaty with German partner BioNTech SE, said he expects COVID-19 boosters may be needed annually, at least for more vulnerable people.
Gottlieb said the challenge for the rest of the world will be getting vaccine distributed to remote settings.