The former head of the Food and Drug Administration has warned that the death toll from coronavirus in the US could climb to as high as 300,000 by the end of the year.
“We’re definitely going to be somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 [fatalities],” Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Gottlieb said the final tally will depend on how well Americans continue to respond to the health threat, especially in rural communities that haven’t been hit yet with outbreaks.
“The concern now is that this has become so pervasive across the country that it could start to infect more rural communities that have largely been untouched to date and probably are a little bit more complacent because they have been untouched, but are still very vulnerable because the infection hasn’t been there,” Gottlieb said.
“If this does become more pervasive across the country and it’s not just in the urban centers, but also in more rural parts of the country, that’s going to be far more difficult to control if it’s more widespread. And we’re seeing indications of that right now.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 5 million on Sunday morning, and more than 162,000 people have died, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.