Gottlieb, who served at the start of the Trump administration, said that “the doubling time has dropped dramatically” – the number of days it takes for the epidemic to double. But he warned, “We may be faced with the prospect that 20,000, 30,000 new cases diagnosed per day will become a new norm and that a thousand or more deaths will also become new normal.”
This type of scenario can continue “throughout the summer,” he said, when people start to “[let] their guard drops a little more, and people are back at work after a break in August, and then you can see this slow simmer exploding in a new epidemic, or a big epidemic. “
“This is the concern,” he added, “that if we don’t put this situation to rest, that you suffer from this slow burn of infection, it can ignite at any time.”
Gottlieb noted that new cases are still spreading in about 20 states, such as Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, among others. Meanwhile, states across the country are slowly starting to reopen, sort of a patchwork approach.