Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that some transmission of the novel coronavirus likely occurred at the protests that have swept the nation over the killing of George Floyd.
“We’re certainly going to see transmissions coming out of these gatherings, there’s no question about that,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” noting that the prevalence of infection in the U.S. was currently about one in 200 people.
“I think the idea of reducing the risk from these protests is a shared responsibility. There’s steps these protesters can take and you see many of them wearing masks in these protests and understanding the risks,” Gottlieb said.
He added law enforcement should also take steps to reduce transmission risk by de-escalating wherever possible.
Gottlieb said that the closest parallel for which there is available scientific data is a German study of transmission at a large outdoor festival.
“The science showed there was about a two-and-half-times increase in the rate of transmission as a result of bringing people together in large gatherings,” Gottlieb said. “So we have some scientific basis to understand that these kinds of settings do create risk.”
PROTESTS AND COVID-19: @ScottGottliebMD tells @margbrennan “we’re certainly going to see transmission coming out of these gatherings,” and says it’s a “shared responsibility” to help stem the risk of transmission pic.twitter.com/quT7URzfXy
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 7, 2020
“It’s hard to judge just how much right now and it’s going to take a couple of weeks,” he added. “We’re probably going to have to get a few transmission cycles out to really judge what the impact was.”
Gottlieb said the demonstrators should “try to take precautions, wear masks, distance where they can, and try to avoid things like getting in contact with elderly people and people who are vulnerable after attending these protests.”