We’re in the second inning of coronavirus epidemic and will face a ‘different threat’ in the fall, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Cameron Costa | CNBC

The United States is in the second round of the coronavirus epidemic as the growth of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 slows down, hopefully, giving the country a “break” over the summer, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC Events. Healthy Returns Virtual Conference Tuesday.

“We have now seen the virus whipping around the world and are now struggling with our own epidemic here in the United States and are starting to stagnate and hopefully go down the epidemic curve,” said Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards of Pfizer and the biotechnology company Illumina.

However, he said the US will face a “very different threat” in the fall, winter, and spring of next year, as the virus sets in more “seasonally.” .

“We can all take a break in the summer. I’m very worried about the fall when we get back, but I hope the infections start to clear up later in the summer,” he said.

Until there is a vaccine or the country reaches a so-called collective immunity level, transmission could continue, according to Gottlieb.

“And at some point, you reach a level of exposure as we continue on this slow combustion where many people have had it and the transmission will start to slow down. But this is only the beginning of this epidemic” , did he declare. .

Gottlieb also discussed the potential decrease in coronavirus transmission if new infections stabilize for a period of time. Although it is not clear whether the United States can achieve collective immunity without a vaccine, he said that most people would start to develop some level of neutralizing antibodies. Collective immunity is reached when most of the 7.6 billion people worldwide are vaccinated or develop antibodies, leaving the virus nowhere to go.

“We just have to assume that most people will develop a level of immunity that will last about a year or maybe less for some people,” said Gottlieb.

Earlier Tuesday, Gottlieb said states that had relaxed restrictions on coronaviruses and started reopening non-essential companies like Alabama, South Dakota and Texas, had started to see an increase in the number of confirmed cases .

“The bottom line is that many states are now reopening their operations in a context that does not meet the criteria that the White House has set in terms of when it would be safe to reopen,” he said. on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. “We will see cases increase now that we reopen.”

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