Gottlieb says US could hit 300K COVID-19 deaths by end of year

Gottlieb says US could hit 300K COVID-19 deaths by end of year
© Getty Images

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb signaled Wednesday that the U.S. could reach 300,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of 2020 if the country's death rate doesn't improve.

"Right now, we have close to 1,000 casualties a day, so if we don’t change that trajectory, you could do the math and see where we are towards the end of the year," Gottlieb, who served as President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE's FDA chief, told MSNBC's "Squawk Box."

More than 142,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, the most of any country in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Currently, the number of deaths per 100,000 people in the country is 43.30, 10th highest in the world. The official death rate for positive cases is hovering around 3.6 percent, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week said the actual number of cases in the U.S. could be up to 10 times greater than the official number.


With more than 3.9 million confirmed cases of the virus, the country could pass 4 million cases by the end of the week. No country has more cases than the U.S. 

Gottlieb's comments come after Trump switched his tone regarding the pandemic on Tuesday, saying that it will probably “get worse before it gets better.” The president also encouraged all Americans to wear masks in public. Trump has previously said he doesn't mind wearing a face covering, although he has rarely been seen doing so.

The former Trump administration official noted that the U.S.'s objective should be to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

“We have the specter right now of parts of this country where the local school boards are making a decision to close schools but the bars and restaurants are still open,” Gottlieb said. “We need to make a decision what’s important to us and what we’re willing to sacrifice right now until we get to the other side of this.”