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"

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13 hours ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.

10 hours ago - World

Spain declares new state of emergency as COVID-19 cases surge

Photo: Gabriel Bouts/AFP via Getty Image

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday announced a new state of emergency that imposes a curfew in an effort to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases.

Driving the news: The mandate comes less than a week after Spain became the first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"— COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear themU.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Italy tightens restrictions Spain declares new state of emergency.