KEY POINTS

  • Ex-FDA chief warns COVID-19 may go on with 30,000 daily new cases and 1,000 daily deaths
  • These numbers may become the "new normal" for Americans
  • He said "those 30,000 cases are really 300,000"

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), supports the growing scientific consensus COVID-19 will likely continue to spread in the United States for the entire year. The escalation will be persistent.

Dr. Gottlieb said this outcome became more probable after mitigation fell short of preventing the disease from gaining a secure foothold in the country. He also pointed out the continuing increase in cases nationally indicates measures implemented to mitigate the spread of the disease "didn't work as well as we expected."

As of 8:10 p.m. ET Sunday, the U.S. had 1,187,387 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 26,613 from Saturday, according to data from Worldometer. It also reported 68,570 deaths, which was 1,126 larger than Saturday's. Worldwide, there were 3,562,525 cases (up 81,153) and 248,103 deaths (up 3,440). The U.S. accounted for a third of all new world deaths on Sunday.

In an interview with CBS "Face the Nation," Dr. Gottlieb predicted the number of deaths from COVID-19 will exceed 100,000 nationally by the end of June. His statement was almost similar to that of Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who said the task force stands by its estimate from 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from the disease this year.

Dr. Gottlieb also warned a persistent spread may mean 20,000 to 30,000 new cases daily, as well as 1,000 daily deaths. He said these horrible numbers could become the "new normal" for Americans.

Data bears out Dr. Gottlieb's warnings. Over the past few days, the U.S. has posted about 30,000 new cases daily and 2,000 deaths. April ended with 30,270 new cases on April 30 compared to April 29. The total new cases reported Sunday was 26,613 larger than the number for Saturday.

"The more that the government accepts the fact that there's just going to be persistent spread and they want to open the economy against that backdrop, the more they better be doubling down on the technology and make sure that we're doing everything we can to get those drugs in time for the fall," he said.

Dr. Gottlieb's projections are underestimates, however. He said "those 30,000 cases are really 300,000" because only one-in-10 infections are being diagnosed nationwide.

coronavirus pandemic forces new yorkers to escape the big apple for good coronavirus pandemic forces new yorkers to escape the big apple for good Photo: Paulo Silva - Unsplash

"The challenge is that if we see this slow simmer through this summer -- maybe this summer's a backstop to spread, I think it will be -- but we see this sort of persistent 20,000 cases a day, maybe 30,000, but it probably comes down a little. We see a persistent 1,000 or more deaths a day. That's through this summer," he explained.

"But what happens when we come back in the fall and schools are back in session, colleges are back in session, residential college campuses? People are letting their guard down a little bit more. People are back at work after an August recess. And then you can see this slow simmer explode into a new epidemic or large outbreaks."

He emphasized the concern is "that if we don't snuff this out more and you have this slow burn of infection, it can ignite at any time."