July 16, 2020
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According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, this is a “key week” for Texas, Florida, and other states with coronavirus peaks.

According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, this is a “key week” for Texas, Florida, and other states with coronavirus peaks.

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Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states where there has been a significant surge in new cases of coronavirus, can move on to a “key week,” which can determine whether they tend to exponentially or not, a former Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday.

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In a number of states, mainly in the American south and west, the number of cases has risen sharply over the past couple of weeks as more people move to more and more open areas and the virus spreads to new communities.

“I think this week will really be key for us to get an idea of ​​where events are going in states such as Florida, Arizona and Texas, regardless of whether they are approaching exponential growth or not,” Gottlieb said. CNBC “Squawk Box”. “The problem is exponential growth – everything looks fine, while suddenly it is not.”

Officials in some states, including Florida, initially indicated increased testing as a spike driver in new confirmed cases. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledged that the percentage of people with positive results is faster than the number of tests performed. The percentage of people with a positive virus response in Florida increased from about 4.2% on June 7 to more than 8% on June 14, according to the most recent data available. Florida Department of Health.

Positivity also rose in Arizona, which reported more than 2,000 new cases per day during the week. According to Gottlieb, statistics that will be tracked this week will double the number of outbreaks in such states.

“This will be a curve that starts to look like exponential growth, doubling time comes down to something about a week or less,” he said. “At present, the doubling time is about 10 days in some of these places, so it is being reduced.”

According to Gottlieb, the number of deaths from Covid-19 does not seem to increase, nor does the number of confirmed cases. However, this may be due to a time delay when infected people fall ill, get to the hospital and then die. Gottlieb said that he did not think the mortality rate would rise sharply as doctors began to treat patients better, and more people who became infected were younger and not as vulnerable as older people or those who have health problems.

However, if such states fail to reduce the spread and contain the virus, Gottlieb said, he will find his way to risk groups. According to him, the longer officials in these states spread the virus, the more difficult it will be to control it.

“They started large outbreaks. There is no doubt about it, ”he said. “Perhaps they are no longer up to the point that they can control it simply with simple interventions, such as trying to get more people to wear masks and people who remember their social interactions.”

Gottlieb said that states with the worst outbreaks would have to start closing businesses again, adding that it would be better if officials could target institutions where they know people are gathering and getting infected. De Santis of Florida and Texas Governor Greg Abbott attribute part of the rising number of cases to young people, ignoring precautions, especially in bars.

“They suggest that these are bars because many young people get sick, but I don’t think they really traced it to these places,” Gottlieb said, “because they don’t have tracking.” and tracking what other states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, had when they were rediscovered. “

Tracking occurs when healthcare providers contact infected people, trying to figure out how they could get infected and who they could expose to the virus before they are diagnosed. This is a time-honored public health strategy that is used to combat infectious diseases such as measles and tuberculosis.

Building a robust contact tracking infrastructure was part of the White House recommendation, although it was not required at the national level to ease restrictions and re-open the business. And instead of taking a leadership role, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instead seeks to largely support local health departments as they try to establish tracking systems.

“They may have to start closing down some establishments where people gather indoors, and they know that the virus is spreading,” Gottlieb said of cities with large spikes. “The problem is that they don’t know what kind of establishments they are.”

Northeast exception

The northeast, especially the New York metro area, was once the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, but has since declined sharply as other states continue to report record spikes. On Monday, New York is moving on to the next opening phase, which will open hairdressers, open-air restaurants, and more.

“We will see an increase in the number of cases, but we will again open up on a completely different background,” Gottlieb said. “Therefore, I would not expect to see the large increases that they see in the southeast and south here when we reopen.”

Gottlieb said that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut daily plagued new infections before they reopened, noting that states that are now experiencing a surge have resumed early, although they still had significant spread in some communities. He added that people in the northeast, many of whom have seen some of the worst outbreaks, are more likely to adhere to public health guidelines such as wearing a mask and social distance.

He added that since the virus infects so many people in the northeast, most of the population probably has a certain degree of immunity or resistance to infection.

“In New York, probably 30% of the population was infected. In New Jersey and Connecticut, it’s probably around 10%, if you did seroprivalence studies, maybe even higher, ”he said. “There was more infection here, so the transmission rate will be slightly lower because of this.”

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb, CNBC Officer, Member of the Board of Directors of Pfizer, Genetic Testing Startup Tempus and the biotechnological company Illumin.

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