Former FDA Commissioner: Mitigation ‘Didn’t Work as Well as We Expected’

By Melanie Arter | May 4, 2020 | 7:11pm EDT
Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco, California on March 12, 2020. - Between 70 to 150 million people in the United States could eventually be infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a projection shared with Congress, a lawmaker said March 12, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a drive-thru testing facility in San Francisco, California on March 12, 2020. - Between 70 to 150 million people in the United States could eventually be infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a projection shared with Congress, a lawmaker said March 12, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that while mitigation didn’t fail in dealing with the coronavirus, it didn’t work as well as expected.

“And so while mitigation didn't fail, I think it's fair to say that it didn't work as well as we expected. We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point, and we're just not seeing that,” Gottlieb said.


“Well, when you look across the country, it's really a mixed bag. Certainly cases are falling in the Tri-State region around New York City, but when you back out what's happening in New York, and New York is really driving a lot of the national statistics because it was such a large outbreak, around the nation, hospitalizations and new cases continue to rise,” he said.

“So there's about 20 states where you see a rising number of new cases: Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee have a lot of new cases on a daily basis,” Gottlieb said.

He predicted that the death toll will reach over 100,000 nationally by the end of June.

When asked to explain the difference in projections between that given by White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and President Donald Trump, Gottlieb said, “The White House was looking at the IHME model out of Washington State, and that model initially showed at the high end  250,000 deaths and a base case of 100,000, but it's come down since then to about 70,000.”

“It's starting to creep back up when you look at the updates of that model over the last two weeks. I think we have to look out to what's going to happen by the end of June. It's really hard to predict beyond June where this goes, because we could have large outbreaks or it could become quiescent in the summer, but I think when you look out to the end of June, it's probably the case that we're going to get above 100,000 deaths nationally,” he said.

“I think the concerning thing here is that we're looking at the prospect that this may be a persistent spread, that while the doubling time has come down dramatically to about 25 days. So the amount of days it takes for the epidemic to double in size is about 25 now, from days or less than a week at the outset of this epidemic,” Gottlieb said.

“We may be facing the prospect that 20,000, 30,000 new cases a day diagnosed becomes a new normal and a thousand or more deaths becomes a new normal as well. Right now we're seeing, for about 30 days now, about 30,000 cases a day and 2,000 deaths a day, and if you factor in that we're probably diagnosing only one in 10 infections, those 30,000 cases are really 300,000 cases,” he said.

 

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