Scott Gottlieb says coronavirus mitigation “has not worked as expected” in reducing cases

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Washington – Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump, said Sunday that the continued increase in coronavirus cases in many states indicates that measures are being implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus “n” have not worked as well as we expected. “

In an interview with “Face the Nation,” Gottlieb said the direction of the epidemic is a “mixed bag,” with the New York City tri-state region experiencing decreases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, but the number of new cases increasing daily in approximately 20 other states, including Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Although the mitigation did not fail, I think it is fair to say that it did not work as well as expected,” said Gottlieb on Sunday. “We expected to start seeing larger declines in new cases and deaths across the country at this point, and we just don’t see it. “

There have been more than 1.1 million cases of coronavirus in the United States, and the death toll is over 66,000. Yet a number of states have started to lift restrictions on businesses , and the White House guidelines on social distancing quietly expired on May 1. President Trump has also focused on reopening the US economy, which has been halted by the epidemic.

Gottlieb predicted that by the end of June the number of deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, will exceed 100,000 nationally and warned that the country could face the prospect persistent spread, with 20,000 to 30,000 new cases. daily and 1,000 deaths per day becoming the “new standard”.

The country is currently experiencing 30,000 new cases a day and 2,000 deaths, said Gottlieb, but because only one in 10 infections is diagnosed, “these 30,000 cases are really 300,000.”

“The challenge is that if we see this slow simmer this summer – maybe this summer is a safety net to spread, I think it will – but we see that kind of 20,000 persistent cases a day, can -be 30,000, but it probably goes down We see 1,000 or more deaths per day. It’s during this summer, “he said. “But what happens when we come back in the fall and the schools resume, the colleges resume, the campuses of residential colleges?” People are lowering their guard a little more. People are back at work after a break in August. And then you can see this slow simmer exploding into a new epidemic or large outbreaks. “

“The concern is, if we don’t cut it over and you have this slow burn of infection, it can ignite at any time,” added Gottlieb.

Gottlieb said that until there is a vaccine, Americans with higher risk factors may need to be cautious when leaving their homes. And while the federal government is pushing for softening social distancing and reopening closed businesses as the virus continues to spread, officials must embrace technology and lobby for the rapid development of treatments.

“The more the government accepts the fact that there will simply be a persistent spread and that it wants to open up the economy in this context, the better it is to double the technology and ensure that we do everything we can to obtain these drugs in time for fall, “he said.

The Trump administration has launched Operation Warp Speed ​​to cut development time for a coronavirus vaccine and aims to have 300 million doses available by January. Gottlieb said he believed that in the fall, several manufacturers would have completed safety trials at an early stage and that doses could be deployed in studies in American cities.

“So what you would do would be to roll out the vaccine as part of an epidemic in a city to both test whether it is safe and effective. So you keep studying it, but you’re also potentially using it therapeutically to get around the barrier of an epidemic, “he said. “I think we will be able to do it. And I know that companies are working on protocols, the design of trials, to engage in this type of vaccine deployment. What we need right now is for more than one manufacturer to be We need several manufacturers, manufacturers based in the United States, to get the vaccines ready for deployment in time for the fall. ”

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