Gottlieb warns of comparisons between COVID-19 and flu after Kushner remarks

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned against comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu Sunday, responding to remarks White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE made earlier in the day.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan noted that in the earlier segment, Kushner had said he was comfortable sending his children back to school, arguing they were “six times as likely” to die from flu as from the virus.

“Well, I don't know where the six times comes from. We need to be careful, I think, about making comparisons to flu. This infection hasn't been as prevalent in children as flu is each year. There's been about 330,000 diagnosed infections,” Gottlieb said. “If you believe we're diagnosing 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 infections in children, maybe there have been about 3 million kids who've been infected with this.”

Gottlieb conceded that the coronavirus did not appear to be “as prevalent” in children as the flu is. However, he noted that in addition to some 90 children’s deaths from the virus, there are indications that it may cause inflammatory post-viral syndromes in children in some case.

“There's a lot we don't understand about COVID in kids. I think we need to be careful about making comparisons to flu and the death and disease we see in flu relative to COVID,” Gottlieb said.

The former FDA commissioner also acknowledged that while he had expected a peak and decline in deaths by this point, “there's been a fairly persistent level of infection, hospitalizations and deaths over the last couple of weeks.”

“We've had over a thousand deaths a day for at least two weeks now, over 50,000 infections a day on average,” he said. “We hit 55,000 in the last day. Hospitalizations have come down a little bit, but they haven't really started to decline very rapidly.”