Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that he stands by his prediction that businesses will allow employees to return to offices by February.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Gottlieb told host Margaret Brennan that most businesses will reopen offices by March 1, citing declining COVID-19 cases in the eastern U.S.
“Yeah, I think that’s timeline still intact, you’re seeing a lot of businesses make decisions to do, return to work March 1st because I think they want to give themselves a cushion, especially having been surprised before,” Gottlieb told Brennan.
Gottlieb noted that away from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, other regions of the country are still experiencing a rise in virus cases, adding it would likely be one to two weeks until cases hit a peak.
“Across the United States, there’s still states that are probably in the thick of this. They have another week, maybe two weeks to go until they peak and start to come down,” Gottlieb told Brennan.
“But in places like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., you’re seeing cases decline very rapidly. And I think that thesis around a February return is intact.”
The U.S. is currently reporting more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, on average, below more than 800,000 earlier this month but still far above previous waves of the virus.
The seven-day average of daily deaths due to COVID-19 is above 2,100 a day, on par with the initial surge of the virus in early 2020, but below the winter wave in 2021, when average daily deaths topped 3,000.