Dr. Scott Gottlieb urges People to seek out "excuses" to remain house throughout "one ultimate" wave of Covid
Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Thursday urged Americans to take precautions in their daily lives to reduce coronavirus transmission as the nation sees a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.
"We're going to have to get through the next two or three months, and it's really going to be a temporary pain," Gottlieb said on CNBC's Squawk Box. "We are not going back to the large-scale lockdown measures. We are smarter than these now. We can target the measures now, but we have to take prudent steps."
Gottlieb not only wore masks and avoided gathering indoors, but also urged people to restrict their mobility – that is, "find excuses not to go out" instead of "excuses to go out".
"This is really one final wave of infections to deal with. I think 2021 will get better," added Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner in the Trump administration. He pointed to advances in treating Covid-19 patients and the possibility of a widespread vaccine in the next year.
Given a seven-day average of new infections of around 127,600, an increase of 35% from the previous week, Gottlieb stressed that measures are now needed to prevent hospitals in the United States from becoming heavily burdened. He said health systems across the nation are "a little under pressure right now," while those in Wisconsin, the Dakotas and parts of Texas are "overwhelmed."
According to a CNBC analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project conducted by journalists from The Atlantic, 22 states are seeing all-time highs in hospitalizations for Covid patients based on an average of seven days. In total, more than 65,000 people are hospitalized with Covid in the United States.
Hospital stays "are increasing very quickly, and that's what it's all about," Gottlieb said as governors in the United States reintroduced tighter restrictions on businesses in response to the deteriorating outbreak. On Wednesday, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said bars and restaurants in New York must end on-site service at 10 p.m. ET. In Ohio, where Covid-19 hospital stays are up 37.4% from a week ago, Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced new restrictions on banquets, post-funeral gatherings and wedding receptions.
"We saw a great tragedy, a great tragedy linked to some of these events," DeWine said in a nationwide address on Wednesday. He also warned that if the "current trend" continues in the state, "we will be forced to … close restaurants, bars and fitness centers."
There are now more than 10.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, and at least 241,809 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"People have to take steps in their own lives" to avoid infection, said Gottlieb, who again warned of the risks associated with Thanksgiving. He previously said that his family will not hold a meeting this year.
"The greater risk for Thanksgiving won't be a single setting. It'll be mobility, the people who move, and the people who come together in gatherings where they feel safe, but there might be someone who is asymptomatic ", so Gottlieb said.
– CNBC's Nate Rattner contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, the genetic testing startup Tempus, and the biotech company Illumina. Gottlieb is also co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean's Healthy Sail Panel.