Former Fda Commissioner Says Worst Of Coronavirus Should Be Over By January

( According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States will last another six months.

On Thursday, Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said he expects the worst of the virus outbreak will come to an end in January. The two ways that it will end, he said, is because enough people will have been infected to create some kind of immunity to the virus, or because a successful and effective vaccine has been developed.

Gottlieb urged people to continue paying attention to health experts and being vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks. The coronavirus-related restrictions on life won’t last forever, he said, but they are necessary so that the country can return to normal sooner rather than later.

Talking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday, Gottlieb said:

“This will be over by January one way or the other. Either we’ll get to a vaccine or we’ll just have spread enough it’s just going to stop spreading efficiently, so we have a short period of time to get through. We should everything we can to preserve what we want of our way of life over that time period to just get through it.”

To this end, Gottlieb said keeping contact with friends and loved ones is OK as long as you keep it to “a small social circle.”

Gottlieb is on the board of Pfizer, one of the 10 pharmaceutical companies that have a coronavirus vaccine that is either in clinical trials or is preparing for clinical trials. Just this week, Pfizer reported more positive results from its early stage human trial, but those results haven’t been peer reviewed yet.

In the past, leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine will be ready to be distributed in the United States early next year. While Fauci said he’s hopeful that one of the vaccines that is in development will prove to be both effective and safe, “there’s never a guarantee.”

Even after a coronavirus vaccine is developed, Fauci said questions will still remain about whether it would provide immunity for a lifetime, or whether it would be for a more limited period of time — as is the case with the annual flu vaccine. As Fauci explained:

“You can have everything you think that’s in place and you don’t induce the kind of immune response that turns out to be protective and durably protective. So one of the big unknowns is, will it be effective?

“Given the way the body responds to viruses of this type, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will, with one of the candidates, get an efficacy signal.”

In lieu of a vaccine, though, Gottlieb still said he believes the coronavirus could just stop spreading come January just by the sheer fact that enough people could develop antibodies by contracting it.

Of course, with antibodies, there’s also questions as to whether they provide someone complete immunity against future infection, and if so, how long that lasts.