Former FDA head says US may turn pandemic around in coming weeks

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Former FDA head says US may turn pandemic around in coming weeks

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said it’s possible that the US could turn the corner in the COVID-19 pandemic in the next few weeks — and follow the same trajectory as the United Kingdom, which has started to see cases plunge again.

Gottlieb said the US appears to be about three or four weeks behind the United Kingdom in the latest wave of cases, which has been driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.

“If you look at the UK, they do in the last seven days appear to be turning a corner. You’re starting to see a downward trajectory on the cases,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“But if the UK is any guide, we are perhaps further into this epidemic and hopefully going to turn a corner in the next two or maybe three weeks,” Gottlieb added.

The UK on Sunday recorded its fifth day of declining cases with more than 29,000 new infections, down around 39% from the week before, officials with Public Health England said.

Meanwhile, the US saw its seven-day average of new infections jump 53% on Thursday from the previous week, according to officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb talks with Richard Zane MD during a tour University of Colorado Hospital's emergency department on August 22, 2017 in Aurora, Colorado. The group was focused on the opioid epidemic.
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said it’s possible that the US could turn the corner in the COVID-19 pandemic in the next few weeks.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Gottlieb said the US is probably “much further into this epidemic than we’re picking up,” suggesting that there’s more virus spreading than currently known.

“I believe that there is more virus than we’re picking up right now. There’s probably a lot of people with mild to subclinical infection since more of the infection is happening in a younger population that’s less likely to become very symptomatic,” Gottlieb said.

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