Oct 4, 2020 - Health

Trump's former FDA chief: Pence is "not in the clear" from coronavirus infection

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Vice President Mike Pence is "not in the clear" from getting the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Pence is expected to hit the campaign trail hard later this week, even as President Trump is in Walter Reed Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment.

  • Pence, who has tested negative, is scheduled to have a full campaign schedule, following the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

What he's saying: "Anyone who was with the president on Tuesday, Wednesday is not in the clear," Gottlieb said.

  • "Anyone who was with any of the people who were currently infected earlier this week, they were probably at their peak contagion at that point," he added.
  • "Typically, you're most contagious about 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. The debate prep on Tuesday is a source of potential third-generation spread. The meeting of the Senate GOP on Wednesday is a source of third-generation spread."

The other side: Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump's re-election campaign, meanwhile, defended Pence's decision to continue to campaign in person.

  • "I have no concerns at all," Miller told NBC's "Meet the Press."
  • "The vice president takes very serious all of these measures. Anyone around the vice president are tested. People are kept very safe."
  • "And again, we can't hide from this virus forever. ... We have to take it head-on. We have to reopen the economy. And we have to develop this vaccine and defeat the virus."

The bottom line: "We'll likely see more cases emerge, unfortunately, early this week from people who are currently infected who went on to infect other people," Gottlieb said.

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