Speed Reads

endgame?

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb: 'By Jan. 4, this pandemic may well be over'

Is the COVID-19 pandemic's end in sight?

Dr. Scott Gottlieb thinks so. The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told CNBC on Friday he believes the coronavirus pandemic is nearing its end in the United States and could be "over" in two months. Gottlieb, a Pfizer board member, made the comments while reacting to Pfizer's announcement that its pill to treat COVID-19 is effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and deaths. 

"The bottom line is the end of the pandemic, at least as it relates to the United States, is in sight right now, given all the tools we have to combat this disease," Gottlieb said on CNBC.

Before this can happen, the United States will still need to get through the Delta wave of COVID-19 infections, Gottlieb said. But after that, he suggested therapeutics like Pfizer's pill coming to market will "mark the end of the pandemic for the United States," and as a result, "we need to think about how we put that victory sign on the sign of the White House, how we declare victory over this pandemic." He has previously suggested the Delta wave of COVID-19 cases would be the "last major wave of infection."

This comes after the Biden administration this week announced that Jan. 4 will be the deadline for large companies to adhere to his vaccine-or-testing mandate. "By Jan. 4, this pandemic may well be over, at least as it relates to the United States," at which point "we'll be in more of an endemic phase of this virus," Gottlieb predicted.

Others had similar reactions to the news from Pfzier on Friday, with Slow Boring writer Matthew Yglesias suggesting the drug company's results, combined with the approval of vaccines for children between 5 and 11, "makes it time for the White House/CDC to set a couple of clear benchmarks for declaring victory on COVID."