Former FDA chief urges government to incentivize localities to shut down their economies amid coronavirus spread

Tim O'Donnell

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb understands no U.S. city "wants to be the first to basically shut down their economy" as a result of the spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, he said Sunday, it'll have to happen to mitigate a "broader epidemic."

Gottlieb also called upon the federal government to incentivize cities and states to take drastic measures, addind that he thinks this will all result in a major federal bailout package anyway. "We're better off doing it upfront and giving assistance to get them to do the right things then do it on the back end after we've had a very big epidemic," he told CBS' Margaret Brennan on Sunday's Face the Nation.

Gottlieb has made this point repeatedly on Twitter in recent days, arguing that if the virus spreads too rapidly, it could overwhelm the health care system, which he said is part of the reason there was a sharper uptick in fatality rates at the epicenter in Wuhan, China, especially early on.

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