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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday the White House strategy to combat the spread of coronavirus appears to be "to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine."

Why it matters: That strategy, which leaves much of the mitigation efforts up to the states and excludes a national mask mandate, is "problematic" because the "first tranche of people to get vaccinated really won't be protected ... probably until February and maybe March," even if companies apply in November with the FDA to administer the vaccine, Gottlieb said.

  • "We're going to have to endure this wave of spread right now — and it's probably likely to be the biggest wave that we endure — without the benefit of a vaccinated population, so we're going to have to rely on those mitigation steps."
  • Gottlieb is on the board of Pfizer, one of the companies developing a vaccine. The company's CEO has said it hopes to know the efficacy of its product by the end of October.

What he's saying: "If you look at the White House strategy, they've come out against universal masking, they've come out against testing asymptomatic and moderately symptomatic people, they say testing should be reserved just to the vulnerable," Gottlieb said.

  • "They want businesses and schools reopened, as we all do, and they're against targeted mitigation like closing restaurants. ... So it begs the question: What is the strategy? And I think the strategy is just to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine."

Go deeper: Vaccine timeline "to ensure public trust"

Go deeper

Biden floats prospect of 1.5 million vaccinations a day

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden said on Monday that he believes America will be on track for 1 million vaccinations a day within the next three weeks, with the possibility of soon upping that number to 1.5 million vaccinations a day.

Why it matters: The president said on Monday that he thinks any American who wants a vaccine can expect to receive one by spring. He added, "I feel confident that by summer we're gonna be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity."

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Anti-curfew protesters clash with police in Netherlands for third night

Protesters set a car on fire during a protest against new coronavirus measures in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Photo: ROB ENGELAAR/ANP/AFP via Getty

A weekend of anti-curfew protests carried into Monday as crowds of residents rallied against new coronavirus restrictions and clashed with police in several Netherlands cities.

Why it matters: Dutch police have described the protests, many of which quickly turned into riots, as the worst unrest in four decades, the BBC notes. The country has confirmed nearly a million cases and over 13,500 deaths from COVID-19, per Johns Hopkins.

Jan 25, 2021 - Health

First U.S. case of COVID-19 variant from Brazil confirmed in Minnesota

COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, where officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S. Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty

The first case of a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil has reached the U.S. and was found in Minnesota, state officials announced Monday.

Why it matters: The P.1 variant is one of three spreading rapidly around the world, raising questions about the efficacy of vaccines on different COVID variants and the possibilities of new outbreaks.