Coronavirus cases are going to surge even higher over the next few weeks, former United States Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during an interview on CNBC on Friday.
Gottlieb was asked whether the US was heading for a national lockdown as Covid-19 cases surged to more than 125,000 Friday -- the country's highest single-day total since the pandemic started.
“Whether or not we need a national lockdown, I think we can deal with this effectively with targeted mitigation on a state-by-state basis, but we're not doing that right now and so we're building up a lot of trouble for the future and I think that this is going to explode in several weeks,” Gottlieb said. “We're going to see these case numbers really start to explode."
The number of Covid-19 infections is actually much higher, he added.
“We're probably at best diagnosing one in five cases right now, maybe a little bit less than that. So this is at least a half a million cases a day, probably more in terms of actual numbers of infections, and it's spread across the United States right now.”
Gottlieb said the current surge is different from last spring, when there were concentrated infections in small areas.
“We're building up a lot of trouble for the future,” he said. “You have to be really worried what January is going to look like, what December is going to look like right now given the way this is rising.
“It's not just the cases, it's the hospitalizations as well. That's really the number to watch, 53,000 people hospitalized, 10,500 people in ICUs. That's a lot and it's growing very quickly.”
Sixteen states reported record high Covid-19 hospitalizations on Friday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, and 22 states have reported at least one record-high day of coronavirus hospitalizations in November.