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Gottlieb: ‘Georgia’s certainly jumping the gun, I think’ by reopening amid coronavirus outbreak

Stefani Reynolds

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned Sunday that Georgia was “jumping the gun” in beginning to gradually reopen some businesses over the weekend.

“Georgia’s certainly jumping the gun I think, getting started too early relative to where they are in their epidemic,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” saying the state is “only testing about 1 percent of their total population.”

Gottlieb warned that the downward slope of the outbreak in the U.S. was unlikely to resemble that of China, where data shows it was similarly steep to the upward slope, and more like Italy, where it was far slower and more gradual.

“It’s going to take a long time until we see sustained decline in new cases and get to the point where there’s a low enough level of spread in the country that we feel comfortable about opening up parts of the country,” he told CBS’ Margaret Brennan, adding “it’s going to probably be mid-May, maybe late May in parts of this nation.”

Brennan also asked Gottlieb about the drug hydroxychloroquine, frequently prescribed for lupus and arthritis and which President Trump repeatedly touted as a possible treatment for coronavirus before the FDA issued a warning that the drug could cause serious cardiac events or death outside of a clinical setting.

“I don’t think doctors should be using it outside of protocols at this point given that we’ve now had accruing evidence demonstrating really no benefit and some indication that it could be causing harm,” Gottlieb said.

“I think it’s still reasonable to conduct clinical studies with it to see if it could be a treatment but we’ve done a lot of clinical studies to date and we haven’t turned over a card that’s really shown that the drug’s effective,” he added. 

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