Dr. Scott Gottlieb emphasized the importance of getting as many people as possible vaccinated and warned of a potentially bad spring and summer without protective immunity, as new variants of Covid are emerging around the world.
"If we can't achieve more protective immunity among the population, we could face a situation where we have some kind of continuous infection in the spring and summer as those variants take hold here," said the former FDA chief in the Trump- Administration in an interview on CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" Thursday night.
Ohio State researchers found a new strain of Covid in the United States with mutations that scientists had not seen before. They also revealed that they had found a different strain identical to the highly transmittable one from the UK. The researchers say these mutations "likely make the virus more contagious".
Gottlieb warned that the variants could turn a relatively quiet spring and summer into a summer when we have more infections because these variants are now in circulation and spread more easily even in the warm months when we shouldn't . I didn't spread a lot of coronavirus. "
Long-time professor at Harvard University, Dr. David Edwards, echoed Gottlieb's views on the timing and importance of an effective vaccine rollout.
"Time is of course important when facing an organism," said Edwards, founder of FEND, a nasal hygiene mist developed for the coronavirus pandemic. "Our main goal this winter should still be to vaccinate as many people as possible with the very powerful vaccines we have today."
The U.S. has distributed 30.6 million vaccines and placed 11 million of them in the arms of the people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, an ensemble forecast compiled by the CDC predicted an additional 92,000 Americans will die from Covid in the next three weeks.
According to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data, the United States has suffered 8,400 deaths in the past two days and nearly 40,000 deaths in less than two weeks of 2021. The pandemic kills an average of more than 3,300 Americans a day.
Gottlieb told host Shepard Smith that he was "encouraged" and "confident" by Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine that the company could scale manufacturing to support the introduction of Covid vaccines in the US.
"The early data looked encouraging," said Gottlieb. "One of the things we saw in the data was that the antibody response continued to increase even after about two and a half months."
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.