Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said a decline in coronavirus deaths even as cases spike is likely temporary.
The concentration of new cases among younger patients, and thus the decline in mortality, is “not likely to stay that way,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “We’re likely to see total daily deaths start to go back up again.”
In states that have imposed restrictions in response to increased cases, Gottlieb said, “the action is much weaker than a stay-at-home order.”
“I think that these states have some difficult weeks ahead,” Gottlieb added, saying that Florida in particular “looks like they may be tipping over into exponential growth.”
“In think the next weeks we’re going to know just how pervasive the spread is” in several states, he said.
Gottlieb said that the issue in many states may not necessarily have been premature reopening, but rather insufficient time between stages of reopening.
“The speed of the opening in some of these states… they didn’t really pause in between steps of the reopening for a sufficient amount of time to see if it was having an untoward effect,” he said.
Asked about steps by the European Union to restrict entry by travelers from the U.S., Gottlieb added “I think states that have crushed their epidemic are going to start to put more stringent restrictions on travel” as well, pointing to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which have instituted a quarantine period for travelers from states experiencing outbreaks.
“The easiest thing we could do is universal masking and I don’t know why we can’t… that alone could reverse the epidemic,” the former FDA chief added, noting that it was the best solution particularly over the next several months.
“After about 6 or 7 months we’re going to get to a vaccine or a therapeutic…. But it’s going to be a 2021 event,” he added.