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Gottlieb: ‘I think that we’re close to the end of the pandemic phase of this virus’

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday the U.S. is “close” to the final phase of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I think that we’re close to the end of the pandemic phase of this virus, and we’re going to enter a more endemic phase and as things improve, cases may pick up,” Gottlieb said during “Face the Nation” on CBS.

The former FDA official said that while COVID-19 cases may start to trend upward again “that doesn’t mean that we’re entering into another wave of infection.”

He told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan that he believed the spike in causes caused by the delta variant was the final wave, pointing to two key factors necessary in order to shift from a pandemic to an endemic, where Americans learn how to live with the virus, like the flu.

“We’ve always said that two of the events that would demarcate the end of this pandemic was being able to vaccinate our children. We’re now able to do that down to age five,” Gottlieb said.

“And also having a widely available or orally accessible drug that could treat coronavirus at home to prevent people from being hospitalized or dying. And we now have two of those potential pills, one from Pfizer and one from Merck, and there will be more behind that,” he continued. 

Late last week, Pfizer announced that its antiviral COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid, was 89 percent effective at reducing the risk of hospitalizations and deaths in infected adults at risk for becoming severely ill.

Merck’s molnupiravir pill, developed along with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has also been found to be effective at curbing COVID-19 hospitalizations, cutting the risk of hospitalization by 50 percent, according to results from its clinical trials.

Tags COVID-19 FDA Merck molnupiravir Paxlovid Pfizer Scott Gottlieb Scott Gottlieb Sunday shows

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