States, Governors Must Be The Ones To Stop The Spread, Former GOP FDA Commissioners Say

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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Two former Food and Drug Administration commissioners warned that governors must take the reins on the effort to curb coronavirus spread to prevent future crippling lockdowns.

Drs. Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, who have both served as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioners, warned governors that failing to act now will have significant negative ramifications in an op-ed they wrote together in The Wall Street Journal. With coronavirus cases spiking nationwide and an upcoming change in presidential leadership, Gottlieb and McClellan said local leaders must take control.

“The White House is changing hands during the most critical point of the pandemic, and it’s a particularly important time for leadership from governors, mayors and county administrators,” the former FDA commissioners wrote, according to the WSJ. “State and local actions, supported by improved treatments, can help build a bridge to vaccinations and more widespread immunity in 2021.” (RELATED: US Stock Market Closes At Record Highs Following Vaccine News)

Gottlieb and McClellan said that a “patchwork” of policies won’t be enough to stop the spread in the coming weeks and months, according to the WSJ. Rather, state officials need to both reinforce existing guidelines – wearing a mask, washing hands regularly and social distancing – and implement new restrictions on hot spots and certain businesses like, for example, bars and restaurants.

Former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan speaks in 2015. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Geisinger Health System)

Former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan speaks in 2015. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Geisinger Health System)

“This doesn’t mean broad lockdowns,” they continued according to the WSJ. “State and local leaders can tie restrictions to expected hospital strain, tailored to hot spots and not necessarily the entire state. Restrictions can focus on known sources of spread, such as bars and nightclubs.”

They added that governors need to communicate to the public that coronavirus has become a treatable condition at its earliest stages, according to the WSJ. They must also make treatment and access to antibodies more accessible to the average American in the early stages of a coronavirus diagnosis. (RELATED: Biden Coronavirus Adviser Calls National Lockdown ‘Measure Of Last Resort’)

Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have been increasing rapidly around the country for several weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project. On Monday, the U.S. reported 581 new coronavirus-related deaths and 148,532 new cases while 73,014 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus.

Gottlieb and McClellan endorsed federal legislation that would give another round of paycheck protection to businesses affected by the ongoing pandemic, according to the WSJ. However, there has been little momentum in Congress since the Nov. 3 election to reach a bipartisan agreement on coronavirus relief, CNBC reported.

“Winter was always going to be the hardest time with the virus, but coordinated state and local leadership can make it more manageable,” they said, according to the WSJ. “Many governors have taken aggressive steps to slow the spread, but states that don’t act quickly put the entire nation at risk.”

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