The former head of the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that he believes the U.S. will hit the daily mark of 100,000 coronavirus cases as soon as this week.
“We’ll cross 100,000 infections at some point in the next couple of weeks, probably,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as FDA commissioner for the Trump administration from 2017 until April 2019, told CNBC. “We might do it this week if all the states report on time. We have to see if states like Florida and Texas actually report on Friday and Saturday, because we might get above 100,000 this week.”
Gottlieb said the public’s behavior and lack of caution are factors in the likely increase in infections, particularly as the holiday season gets underway.
“The reality is that I think we’re not going to start to see a slowdown in the pandemic until you see consumer behavior change, and until you see mobility data start to decline,” he said. “That’s been the lesson of the past surges in the virus.”
“The biggest impact of the virus came when consumers started to express more caution — go out less, wear masks more — and I think it’s going to take more infection until we get there, unfortunately,” Gottlieb said. “That’s why I’m predicting that we’re really not going to see this sort of start to peak until after Thanksgiving.”
As of Thursday, the U.S. has roughly 8.9 million reported coronavirus cases and 228,000 deaths, both tops globally, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. More than half of the country’s states have set records this month for daily cases.