EXCLUSIVE: Former FDA commissioner Dr. Gottlieb says COVID ‘isn’t going away’
Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says this pandemic will eventually end, but COVID-19 is not going away.
He spoke with News 12 Connecticut’s John Craven in an exclusive interview from his home in Westport about where we are in the pandemic.
Gottlieb says he agrees with the CDC’s decision to approve booster shots on a limited basis for now.
“The approval is for people who are 65 and above, but also people who are at risk of a severe outcome from COVID, which could mean an underlying health condition,” Gottlieb says. The CDC hasn't backed boosters for front-line workers.
Gottlieb has a revealing new book, "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic.”
In the book, Gottlieb says the United States could have avoided a nationwide shutdown at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
He says places like New York City’s health care system was on the brink of collapse, but other areas in the country did not have as much of a problem.
“But because we didn’t have a diagnostic test, we had to engage in a simultaneous national shutdown of all commercial activity,” Gottlieb says. “When really we should have focused that just on the regions where the virus was spreading.”
The former FDA director says he thinks things will get back to the normal we knew before the coronavirus, but some things are going to have to be done differently.
Gottlieb says air quality indoors will have to improve and workplaces will need to be made safer.
But even while preparing for the next steps or the next pandemic, he says COVID “isn’t going away.”
“We will be out of this pandemic, but this will become what we call an ‘endemic risk,’” Gottlieb says.
He helped Connecticut craft its response to the coronavirus and says the state is doing a lot of things right.
Gottlieb says an early emphasis on testing and a simplified vaccine rollout helped the state stay ahead of the virus.
The full interview can be seen this weekend on Power and Politics airing at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. It can also be viewed on the News 12 app.