Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned the United States is only "at the beginning of the steep end of the epidemic" as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations break dismal records across the country.
In an interview on CNBC's The News with Shepard Smith on Friday, the former FDA chief said, "You will see cases accelerate in the coming weeks. I think the turning point will really be Thanksgiving."
The US hit 9 million confirmed cases of the virus on Friday, more than any other country. Thursday marked a record of a day with 90,456 new cases logged. This is evident from the latest NBC News balance sheet. For the context, that's more than one new case per second. Gottlieb stated that this surge was more confluent across the country than it was earlier this year when it focused first on New York and then on the south.
"The reason it doesn't feel very bad in most parts of the country right now is that it's moderately bad everywhere," Gottlieb said.
In Illinois, cases rose to more than 6,900 in one day, according to Johns Hopkins. It more than tripled the number added a month ago, and sparked new restrictions in Chicago. As of Friday, bar and restaurant service was banned to curb the spread of the virus.
Gottlieb told host Shepard Smith that the country could get approval for a vaccine for a high-risk population sometime this year, but noted that "you won't have protective immunity until 2021 because you need two doses of the vaccine and you have to be spread apart about a month. "
For the general population, however, Gottlieb said he doesn't think there will be an approved vaccine for widespread use by the second or third quarter of 2021.
For more information on Shepard Smith's interview with Dr. For Scott Gottlieb, see the full interview above.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, the genetic testing startup Tempus, and the biotech company Illumina. Pfizer has signed a manufacturing agreement with Gilead to manufacture Remdesivir. Gottlieb is also co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean's Healthy Sail Panel.