DR. Scott Gottlieb CNBC told CNBC on Monday that the US still needs to expand and improve its coronavirus testing and contact tracing to get its epidemic under control – even if it will never be able to conduct an operation as rigorous as China.
“We don’t need a surveillance status to do better testing and tracing, and we could much better ask for collective action so that people can wear masks more routinely,” Gottlieb said “Squawk Box.”
The former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration pointed out recent developments in the east Chinese city of Qingdao. After 12 cases have been reported, the city now plans to test all 9 million residents over the next five days. according to the BBC.
“So they’ll manage to wipe out this outbreak,” said Gottlieb, who served in the Trump administration at May 2017 to April 2019. “We could never do that here. First, we don’t have the ability to do this, and if we did we would never even come close to compliance.”
Gottlieb previously lamented the lack of coronavirus testing in the US as the nation’s outbreak began to grow, leading to significant uncertainty about where the virus actually spread in March and April. This led to widespread home stay orders the only choice In order to slow down the transmission, he claimed.
Testing capacity in the US has been expanded for high-precision laboratory-based PCR testing, although there have been challenges delayed results. Additionally, new rapid tests because the virus is coming out and adding a layer to the public health response.
The US has performed an average of 907,000 tests per day for the past 30 days. This comes from a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic. In April, when much of the nation was under lockdown, the daily average of tests was 177,400.
The increase in testing may explain some of the average growth in new daily US coronavirus cases nearly 51,000 in the last seven days after the Covid Tracking Project.
However, Gottlieb still emphasizes the need for continual improvement in the nation’s response, and told CNBC last week “A raging epidemic is not inevitable.” He added, “The whole of the Pacific Rim has fewer than 1,000 infections a day,” referring to countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
On Monday, Gottlieb admitted that there are differences between the options in the US and an authoritarian country like China, where the coronavirus first emerged late last year. “They test and pursue very aggressively, probably more aggressively than us because we are just not going to give up certain freedoms,” he said.
In China, for example, government cameras have been installed on people’s doors under a 14-day quarantine to ensure they do not leave their homes. CNBC reported in March. Gottlieb also noted that other Asian countries are using electronic tracking to ensure people are tested. “I’m not saying we have to go that far, but we are far from achieving any level of compliance with testing and tracking.”