"We Need to Accept That We're in the Second Wave," Former FDA Chief Says
Scott Gottlieb, MD, is sounding the alarm that the U.S. is in the second wave of the pandemic.
Spiking coronavirus case numbers in various parts of the country over the past few weeks have left many Americans wondering whether or not this is the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while it seemed unclear for awhile, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, is saying plainly and simply that the U.S. is now in the second wave of the pandemic.
"We need to accept the fact that we're in the second wave right now," Gottlieb said in a Face the Nation interview with CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday, July 5. The doctor, who worked under the Trump administration from 2017 until last spring, said two months ago, 10 states had expanding epidemics. Now, he says, the same can be said about 40 states.
And worse yet, he added, "It's not a clear line of sight on how we're going to get this under control."
In mid-June, Gottlieb was asked about the COVID surges in Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina during an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box. "It's not a second wave," he said at the time. "[Those states] never really got rid of the first wave … They just had some infection, they had persistent infection—now we're starting to see it go back up as they reopen." But less than a month later, the situation has only worsened. Those states, and many others, have seen weeks of rising case numbers that have made their situations "critical," according to COVID Act Now.
In the July 5 interview, Gottlieb, who has been raising red flags about the recent COVID spikes for weeks, added that the country is "where we were when New York City was having its peak epidemic." He said that at that time, there were about 34,000 reported cases a day, but only about one in 20 positive cases was being diagnosed, meaning there were likely actually 700,000 new infections daily.
By comparison, Gottlieb said, "Right now, we're gonna have about 60,000 infections a day. This week, maybe we'll reach 75,000 or get close to it. We're probably diagnosing one in 12 infections … That means we have about 700,000 infections a day nationally. So we're right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak."
Many experts had predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would behave like the 1918 influenza pandemic, which started in March 1918, saw a significant drop in cases over the summer, and then saw a resurgence in the fall that claimed even more lives than the initial outbreak. But if we're already in that second wave, it looks like the coronavirus may be moving at a faster pace. And for more on the rapid COVID spread, This Is Why Coronavirus Is Skyrocketing in the South, Harvard Doctor Says.