Fmr. FDA chief, Pfizer board member stokes fear on monkeypox outbreak: ‘We’ve failed to contain this’

The next round of pandemic hysteria could be rapidly approaching with Democrats already moving to reimpose mask mandates in some states with COVID panic on the rise, and now there is the additional threat of monkeypox, according to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Gottlieb, who headed up the FDA during the Trump administration and is a board member of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer appeared on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” where he struck a grave tone about the spread of the viral disease that results in a hideous, blistering rash, suggesting that the ship has sailed on containment and only a small amount of actual cases have been detected.

“Give us a sense of the scale of this, because the CDC numbers are out. They say they’re only eight women within that, no children,” asked host Margaret Brennan, “You’re saying this is a pandemic. That’s not a word the administration is using yet. What level of emergency are we at?”

“Yes, look, and I think they’re going to be reluctant to use the word pandemic because it implies that they’ve failed to contain this,” Gottlieb replied, “and I think, at this point, we’ve failed to contain this.”

“We’re now at the cusp of this becoming an endemic virus, where this now becomes something that’s persistent that we need to continue to deal with. I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed. And, if it hasn’t closed, it’s certainly starting to close, 11,000 cases across the world right now, 1,800 cases, as you said, in the U.S,” he said.

“We’re probably detecting just a fraction of the actual cases because we have a very — we had for a long time a very narrow case definition on who got tested. And, by and large, we’re looking in the community of men who have sex with men and at STD clinics,” Gottlieb added. “So we’re looking there, we’re finding cases there but it’s a fact that there’s cases outside that community right now. We’re not picking them up because we’re not looking there. This has spread more broadly in the community. I wouldn’t be surprised there’s thousands of cases right now.”

Brennan said, “It’s a little chilling to hear you say containment has failed. I have heard you say that before with COVID.”

“Well, look, this isn’t going to explode like COVID. This is a slower-moving virus, which is why we could have gotten control of this if we had been more aggressive up front,” Gottlieb responded. “And we made a lot of the same mistakes that we made with COVID with this, having a very narrow case definition, not having enough testing early enough, not deploying vaccine in an aggressive fashion to ring-vaccinate.”

“But now this is firmly embedded in the community. And while it’s not going to explode, because it’s harder for this virus to spread, it’s probably going to be persistent. You’ll have this as a sort of a fact of life, maybe spreading as a sexually transmitted disease, but also breaking out of those settings,” he added.

The media’s growing focus on monkeypox comes as an already jittery public that is terrified of the new COVID variant anxiously watches as Macau’s casinos are shut down and Los Angeles County inches closer to mandatory indoor masking which could potentially set off a domino effect heading into the fall season.

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Chris Donaldson


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