Former FDA Chief Warns Certain ‘Wild Card’ States Could Raise Coronavirus Deaths

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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States like Texas and Florida could cause more coronavirus deaths if they don’t issue stricter policies, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday according to The Hill.

Gottlieb remained hopeful that the U.S. will be able to flatten the curve and potentially not have White House estimates of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the virus, The Hill reported. He criticized some “populist” states for not taking enough strict measures to ensure that people are adhering to social distancing and other guidelines.

“I think the real wild card here, and the decision point on whether or not we’re going to have the bad outcome that Drs. Fauci and Birx talk about, is what populist states like Texas and Florida do,” Gottlieb said on CNBC.

The former FDA commissioner, who worked under President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019, warned that if states like these “don’t get more aggressive, we could be on the cusp of some bad outcomes.”

“I don’t understand why those governors have not acted more forcefully right now, especially when you look at a state like Florida,” Gottlieb said according to The Hill. “Florida has a very large epidemic underway. There’s multiple hot spots, they were probably seeded in early February. Now they have large clusters.”

Although many in Texas have been told to stay at home, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has so far chosen to allow local officials to decide specific measures, The Hill reported. Houston, Dallas and San Antonio residents have been told to remain home. (RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Here’s What Every State In America Is Doing To Combat The Spread Of The Coronavirus)

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also not issued a state-wide order. Certain counties have been given a stay-at-home mandate, but not the entire state.

Many states, such as Virginia and Maryland, have seen their governors issued state-wide mandates in an effort to combat the virus.