WASHINGTON — As states begin to reopen their economies, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned Tuesday that the U.S. might not be able to lower transmission of the coronavirus much more than the current rate, which has resulted in about 30,000 new cases a day.
"I think that we need to understand this may be the new normal," Gottlieb said in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "TODAY" show. "We may not be able to get transmission down much more. I hope we can.
"The most likely scenario is that cases go up, not down," Gottlieb added. "And so we need to think about what it looks like in the country if we have transmission of this virus and we try to get back to some sense of normalcy."
That would mean getting personal protective equipment to vulnerable populations who "end up being disadvantaged Americans" and who work under conditions in which they can't practice social distancing, such as in meatpacking plants.
Gottlieb said analysts expected that the U.S. would have seen a decline in cases at this point as states navigate reopening aspects of their economies. But that hasn't happened.