Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News' Major Garrett on Sunday's edition of Face the Nation that data suggest the South's current COVID-19 epidemic is contracting. However, there should still be some "very hard weeks ahead" for the region as hospitalizations, which lag behind case numbers, continue to rise before peaking themselves.
Gottlieb then zeroed in on Florida, where he said that nearly every age group is showing declines in day-to-day case numbers. That's a good thing, of course, except for the fact that the trend doesn't hold for one demographic: school-aged children.
"That's the only category that's still expanding, and expanding very quickly," Gottlieb said, explaining that the Delta variant has been getting into schools, which often reopen earlier in the South. "It's proving to be hard to control in schools ... I think that this is a harbinger of the challenges that we're gonna face nationally as schools reopen. The schools could become focal points of community transmission, and could become environments that aren't safe for children if we can't control very large outbreaks."
The way to avoid those outbreaks without closing schools, Gottlieb reiterated, is to test aggressively and utilize other mitigation techniques such as mask-wearing and "proper ventilation."