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Gottlieb: ‘I would certainly counsel against’ attending political rallies during pandemic

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday warned against attending political rallies while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing as President Trump prepares to resume large campaign gatherings.

“I would certainly counsel against it,” Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “If I was giving advice to the administration on this, I would say they should withhold large political rallies right now. They also need to lead by example, and so encouraging people to social distance, encouraging people to wear masks, that’s what we should be engaging in right now.”

Setting such an example, Gottlieb said, would be “a powerful message to individual people all across the country. We’re taking an awful lot of infection into the fall.”

Gottlieb added that while “we think that we can sort of manage 20,000 diagnosed infections a day,” the coronavirus “wants to infect 50 to 60 percent of the population … it’s not going to be content to infect just 20,000 people a day. So if we carry all this infection, all the way into the fall, it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to keep it at these kinds of levels.”

CBS’ Margaret Brennan also noted that Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has said that even though large numbers of attendees at the nationwide protests against police brutality and racism are wearing masks, shouting can counteract the benefits of a face covering.

“I agree with her, we’ve seen data now from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that shows choir groups and places where people are singing led to spread within confined spaces,” Gottlieb said. “Obviously the risk is a little bit diminished when you’re outside versus indoors, but we know these large gatherings are going to lead to more spread.”

“There’s things you can do to reduce the risks, you can require people to wear masks,” Gottlieb said, but he added the “shared responsibility” applied to police at protests as well and said the use of tear gas and detaining people in close quarters would also contribute to spread.

Tags Black Lives Matter Coronavirus Donald Trump Scott Gottlieb Sunday shows

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