In just nine months, 8.6 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States alone, with over 225,000 lives lost. However, according to top health experts, the worst is still yet to come. On Monday, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb revealed during an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box that this next stage of the pandemic may be harder than the previous ones. Read on for more of his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Things Are About to Go From Bad to Worse
"I think we're right now at the cusp of what's going to be exponential spread in parts of the country," he said. "If we took aggressive steps right now, we could potentially forestall the worst of it, but we're not going to do that," because there's a lot of fatigue and "policy resistance to taking strong action."
According to Gottlieb, this next season will be the worst. "We really have two or three months of the acute phase of this pandemic to get through. This is going to be the hardest phase, probably," he continued.
Infections and Hospitalizations Are on the Rise
This week the country broke some grim records, with an all-time high seven-day average of new cases reaching 68,767 on Sunday, per Johns Hopkins University.
Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, is also concerned about the recent surge of cases, contradicting President Trump's notion that the spike of new cases is a result of increased testing.
"Testing may be identifying some more cases, I think that's clearly true, but what we're seeing is a real increase in the numbers," he revealed during a Washington Post live event on Tuesday. He explained that during March and April it was likely that just one of 10 or 15 cases were identified due to testing. And while it's impossible to directly compare now to then, "compared to the post Memorial Day surge, even though testing is up, this is a real increase in cases," he said.
He also pointed out that hospitalizations are increasing. "We really have a mixed picture, but we are tenuous now. We really have to re-engage the public health measures that we know work, or those hospitalizations can go up substantially," he said.
Mask Mandates Are Needed
Gottlieb recently published an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled "Winter Is Coming: Time for a Mask Mandate," urging policymakers to consider enforcing the fundamental prevention method. "A mandate can be expressly limited to the next two months," he wrote."The inconvenience would allow the country to preserve health-care capacity and keep more schools and businesses open."
The Republican health official, who worked under Trump, added that "States should be able to choose how to enforce a mandate, but the goal should be to make masks a social and cultural norm, not a political statement."
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently echoed the notion. "If people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it," he suggested. So play your part: wash your hands, wear your face mask, avoid crowds, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.