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Transcript: Scott Gottlieb discusses coronavirus on “Face the Nation,” October 18, 2020

The next is a transcript of an interview with former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb that aired October 18, 2020, on “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome again to FACE THE NATION. We wish to go now to former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who’s in Westport, Connecticut. Good morning to you.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve got now eight million infections in america, report hospitalizations. When it comes to the crimson zone areas the White Home is anxious about, 26 states fall into that class. The place are we headed as a rustic?

DR. GOTTLIEB: Most likely probably the most tough section of this epidemic. I feel the subsequent three months are going to be very difficult. There’s actually no backstop towards the unfold that we’re seeing. And we’re most likely two or three weeks behind Europe. And Europe’s in a really tough place proper now too. I feel as we enter the winter, we’ll see continued unfold. There’s 42 states the place hospitalizations are rising. There’s 45 states the place the speed of switch, the Rt is above one, that means they’ve increasing epidemics. And there is actually no backstop. There’s not going to be an intervention that basically thwarts this wanting the- the flexibility to get a vaccine, which might be an occasion that occurs late in subsequent 12 months.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We wish to return now to Dr. Scott Gottlieb. We’ve got fastened that technical challenge, we hope. You had been simply saying, Dr. Gottlieb, that we had been headed into a really tough interval. You continue to predict the vaccine as an occasion effectively into 2021. After we have a look at what’s occurring proper now, there’s such an outbreak within the Midwest. In Wisconsin, they’d their highest day by day case complete for the reason that pandemic started on Friday. And residents are being informed to keep away from crowds. However the president held a rally there simply yesterday. He appears to not be adopting any additional well being restrictions even after having recovered from the virus himself. How harmful is that this?

DR. GOTTLIEB: I feel it is problematic, and I feel it is including to the challenges. Look, the unfold we’ve proper now’s with the mitigation that we’ve in place. And so we’re taking some steps. If we weren’t taking these steps, if individuals weren’t sporting masks typically and a few states weren’t adhering to some mitigation ways and we weren’t testing and tracing, then we would have a lot worse unfold. And when you have a look at the White Home technique, they’ve come out towards common masking. They’ve come out towards testing asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals. They are saying testing needs to be reserved simply to the susceptible. They need companies and colleges reopened, as all of us do, they usually’re towards focused mitigation like closing eating places. There was criticism of New York when New York stored the eating places closed. So it begs the query, what’s the technique? And I feel the technique is simply to endure the unfold till we get to that vaccine. And the explanation that is problematic is as a result of even when you get corporations submitting functions on the finish of November, which is what they’ve stated. And I am on the board of Pfizer, one- one of many corporations growing a kind of vaccines. It’s going to take the FDA two to 4 weeks to show that utility round. Then it can take us one other two to 4 weeks to get the preliminary tranche of individuals, probably the most susceptible who’re indicated for the vaccine, vaccinated. Then they should get a second dose and that occurs within the subsequent three to 4 weeks. After which it takes two weeks for the immunity actually to kick in. So that you’re a state of affairs the place the primary tranche of individuals to get vaccinated actually will not be shielded from the vaccine most likely until February and perhaps March. And in order that’s a great distance off. We’ll should endure this wave of unfold proper now. And it is most likely prone to be the most important wave that we endure with out the advantage of a vaccinated inhabitants. So we’ll should depend on these mitigation steps.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are speaking to us from Connecticut. That is a state within the yellow zone. I do know you propose to vote in particular person, however when you dwell in a crimson zone state, when you dwell within the Midwest proper now, how protected is it to exit within the midst of an epidemic and vote?

DR. GOTTLIEB: Look, I feel it’s- I feel it is doable to guard your self, however you are going to have to take precautions. You understand, the- the most important dangers are the settings the place we let our guard down. And if you discuss to the governors about the place the unfold is going on, it is occurring in congregate settings the place individuals really feel extra comfy, a neighborhood Elks Membership, a big household gathering. I feel if you exit to vote, the voting locations are taking precautions. They’re- they’re sequencing individuals fastidiously. They’re cleansing the voting stations in between voters. Their- their traces are going to be lengthy, however they are going to take precautions inside these settings. And I feel when individuals exit to vote, in the event that they put on a top quality masks, they will adequately shield themselves. The largest threat are the settings the place we’re not on our- on guard, the place we let our guard down, the place we aren’t taking these sorts of precautions. So I feel you may vote safely, even in locations the place there’s excessive prevalence. However you are going to must be cautious.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And if you say top quality masks, you imply not a material one, is that proper?



DR. GOTTLIEB: High quality of masks issues. That is what the research present. And so when you put on a process masks, that is going to guard you higher, and if you are going to get N-95 masks that is even higher.

MARGARET BRENNAN: While you stated massive household gatherings are a serious supply of unfold are you advising individuals to not have a good time Thanksgiving?

DR. GOTTLIEB: I feel individuals have to weigh their particular person threat. If in case you have individuals in your loved ones who’re susceptible, I feel it is advisable to attempt to proceed to guard them. We’ve got two or three very arduous months forward of us. I feel that is most likely going to be the toughest section of this pandemic. The excellent news is that we’ve a lot- a number of medical therapies and higher medical care so we’ll do a greater job of preserving life. The unhealthy information is I feel we’ll find yourself infecting much more individuals. And so, you already know, we have to get by means of these subsequent two to a few months. And we have made it this far. I do know persons are exhausted, however we’re on this about eight, 9 months now, and we’ve a brief time period to go. We’re most likely within the seventh inning of the acute section of this pandemic proper now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And shortly, we hold listening to about these therapeutic breakthrough medication. How extensively obtainable will they be since we all know there are possible shortages?

DR. GOTTLIEB: Properly, they are going to should be rationed. These are the therapeutic antibody medication. They are going to should be rationed, and I feel that is going to be challenges distributing them. Proper now the plan is to distribute them at emergency rooms. So you are going to should compel people who find themselves largely effectively, individuals who have the an infection however have not but actually developed signs as a result of these are the individuals almost definitely profit, to come back into an emergency room to get infused. That is going to be a problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: A problem within the midst of a pandemic. Alright, Dr. Gottlieb, thanks on your evaluation and recommendation.

DR. GOTTLIEB: Thanks lots.

 MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be again in a second.

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