Scott Gottlieb: COVID-19 Could ‘Run Its Course’ in 2020, Slow Down in 2021

Former Food and Drug Administration head Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday the coronavirus “could run its course in 2020,” but called it an “extremely low” likelihood there’ll be a vaccine for widespread use this year.

In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Gottlieb said the slowdown in spread will come at a heavy human price.

“This could run its course in 2020, and as we get into 2021 start to slow down,” he said. “I think the tragic consequence of that is that there’s going to be a lot of death and disease along the way. But I think by the end of this year we’re likely to be through at least the most acute phase of this epidemic, in part because it’s going to end up infecting a lot more people between now and then.”

Gottlieb said it’s unlikely there’ll be a vaccination for widespread use this year despite predictions of a vaccine possibility before the election.

“I think the likelihood that we’re going to have a vaccine for widespread use in 2020 is extremely low,” he said.

“I think we need to think of that as largely a 2021 event. And if we do have a vaccine available in 2020 it is likely to be used in a much more targeted fashion, almost in a therapeutic sense, to protect very high-risk populations.”

According to Gottlieb, by the end of 2020, up to 20% of population will have been exposed to the virus at its current rate of spread.

“And we’re likely to see the virus itself start to slow down just because of the natural progression of the epidemic,” he said.

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