Americans getting sick and tired of living quieter, more careful lives to stop the spread of COVID-19 threaten to spark a dangerous surge in cases, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration warned Sunday.
But they’d better be prepared for a long haul of precautions because chances are “extremely low” that a vaccine will be ready for general use this year, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think we need to think of that [a vaccine] as largely a 2021 event,” he said. “And if we do have a vaccine available in 2020, it’s likely to be used in a much more targeted fashion.”
And disturbingly, cases are still about where they were at the beginning of the summer just ahead of a “more difficult season,” he warned.
“If you look at where we are heading into Labor Day, relative to where we were heading into Memorial Day, we have an equivalent amount, if not more infection” now, Gottlieb said. “And we’re heading into a more difficult season. We’re heading into the fall and the winter when we would expect a respiratory pathogen like a coronavirus to start spreading more aggressively than it would in the summertime. ”
“People are exhausted,” he added. “People have been social distancing and wearing masks and staying home for a long period of time right now.”
People’s “willingness to comply with the simple things that we know can reduce spread is going to start to fray,” Gottlieb warned. “And that’s another challenge — trying to keep up our vigilance at a time when we know that this can spread more aggressively.”
The U.S. has tallied more than 6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and very close to 189,000 deaths.
Check out Gottlieb’s interview in the clip up top.
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