2 (Xinhua) — At least two states and even four states have “community transmission” that may have “hundreds or thousands” of new coronavirus cases undiagnosed in the United States, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The former director, who resigned in April last year, said treatment for new coronary pneumonia could appear in September or October, but the vaccine would have to wait longer.
Gottlieb spoke Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” show, a day after the U.S. recorded its first fatal case of a new coronavirus, and Vice President Mike Pence and other officials defended the government’s response to the outbreak.
“We need to diagnose and identify these cases so that we can start isolating and treating people to prevent more transmission,” Gottlieb said. “He is now a special partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that invests in the healthcare and biotechnology sectors.
By the end of this week, Gottlieb said, the U.S. may have the ability to “diagnose 10,000 people a day, or screen 10,000 people a day in public health labs.” He said the inclusion of academic laboratories in the portfolio would further expand that capability.
Gottlieb said community-based transmission of the virus — meaning an unknown source of infection — appears to be occurring in Washington state and California, possibly Illinois and Oregon.