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Former FDA chief: Pandemic 'isn't contained yet' but 'we think there is going to be a seasonal effect'

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned the coronavirus pandemic was not yet contained but said Americans would likely be able to resume some activities in the summer.

“This isn’t contained yet. That doesn’t mean we can’t go out and start doing things, get back to some semblance of a normal life,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But we need to do things differently, we need to define a new normal. So when we get back to work, we need to get back to work differently.”

Gottlieb noted that hospitalizations were ticking up in several states in the southeast and the Midwest after declining about three weeks ago.

“That shouldn’t be surprising, we expected cases to go up and hospitalizations to bump up as we reopened, but we need to understand this isn’t contained and it’s still continuing to spread, and we might not be able to fully contain this until we get to a vaccine or better therapeutics.”

Asked by host Margaret Brennan what activities he believed were safer than they had been weeks ago, Gottlieb responded, “We think there is going to be a seasonal effect … meaning that when we get into the summer, July and August, we should see cases start to come down, and so people can start to go out again, I think, and start to enjoy some semblance of the lives they want to enjoy over the course of the summer.”

However, Gottlieb said, people should continue to exercise caution and “narrow your circle of friends that you interact with, try to go shopping a little less… if we do that on a broad basis, across the whole population, it could have a big impact on spread.”