Aug 9, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths in 2020

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. will be "definitely" somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 by the end of 2020.

Why it matters: "Whether we're closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do now and how it evolves," Gottlieb warned on Sunday as the U.S. surpassed five million confirmed coronavirus cases.

The big picture: The U.S. has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world with over 160,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Brazil has the second-most deaths with just over 100,000.

What he's saying: "We've now had two waves of this epidemic — the New York wave and the wave through the Sun Belt —which is receding, although Texas is showing an uptick in the last week and that needs to be followed closely," Gottlieb said.

  • "The concern now is that this has become so pervasive across the country that it could start to infect more rural communities that have largely been untouched to date and probably are a little more complacent," he continued.
  • "That's going to be far more difficult to control if it's more widespread. And we're seeing indications of that right now, the way it's spreading in the Midwest and the West."

What to watch: Older Americans tend to live in more rural communities and are the most vulnerable to the virus.

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