July 7, 2020 -- Coronavirus cases are undercounted in the United States and there may actually be 700,000 new inflections a day, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb M.D. said Monday.
During an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Gottlieb discussed how many actual coronavirus cases exist in the United States, a number that health experts extrapolate by multiplying the number of cases confirmed by testing.
“The CDC says we’re diagnosing 1 in 10 now,” he said. “We’re probably more like 1 in 12 now because these states are getting pressed and we’re falling behind.”
Gottlieb predicted the U.S. will soon hit 60,000 cases “for certain.” That figure multiplied by 12 would be closer to 700,000, which is about how many cases were being diagnosed during the early peak of the pandemic, he said.
“I’d say there’s about 700,000 infections a day occurring,” he said. “Now, 20 to 40% of them are asymptomatic, but that’s probably what we should be thinking about. We should multiply by 12.”
The number of tests being requested is putting a strain on manufacturers, he said.
“What’s surprising is how quickly the supply chain got pressed in states like Georgia and Florida and our inability to move supplies into those states,” he said. “Those states right now don’t have enough testing. There’s delays of three to five days when you talk to doctors on the ground.”
Several Southern states may hit their peaks in coronavirus cases this month, he said.
As of Monday, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus counter showed the United States had more than 2.8 million cases and more than 122,000 deaths. Several states, such as Texas and Florida, have been reporting new records in daily confirmed cases.
Gottlieb served as FDA commissioner from 2017 to April 2019.