COVID-19: Mortality Rate & China’s Mistakes | Scott Gottlieb on The Editors with Rich Lowry

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Key Takeaways

  • “This is a once in a century pathogen, this is going to change the way we live and there’s not an easy solution until we get to a vaccine” – Scott Gottlieb
  • “There seems to be a correlation between poverty and deaths” – Scott Gottlieb
    • Poorer communities tend to be packed together which makes it difficult to socially distance, and the population tends to have more health problems such as smoking or diabetes
  • COVID-19 is highly contagious:
    • 80% of people get mild to moderate disease 
    • 10-20% of people are asymptomatic
    • 10-15% end up with severe pneumonia
    • 10% require hospitalization
    • 5% end up in critical care
    • 1% end up dying 
  • Less than 5% of the US population has been exposed to the coronavirus and look at all the death and problems it’s causing
  • Had China been more aggressive in containing the virus back in November and forthcoming about the issue, then they might have been able to fully contain the virus
    • “This might’ve been an entirely avoidable world event” – Scott Gottlieb

Intro

  • Scott Gottlieb (@ScottGottliebMD) is an American physician and investor who served as the 23rd Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 until April 2019
  • Host: Rich Lowry (@RichLowry

Thoughts on COVID-19

  • The coronavirus infects the lower area of the lungs which can cause the immune system to overreact and it ends up attacking and damaging the person’s lung tissue
  • The coronavirus is similar to the Spanish Flu
    • “COVID-19 not only looks like Spanish Flu in terms of its distribution across the age range but looks far more fierce” – Scott Gottlieb
  • South Korea did a better job at tracing contact cases than the US
    • The problem in the US is that infection spread so quickly that it became overwhelming to contact trace cases
  • The are 3 options in a pandemic:
    • 1) Just let it spread everywhere, but hospitals will be at overcapacity and you’ll have a high morbidity rate
    • 2) You can do population based medication
    • 3) Or case-based interventions where you try to find who has the disease, test people aggressively, and ask people to self-isolate if they’re infectious
      • “Those are the only three options, there’s not really a good middle option” – Scott Gottlieb
  • The US will be measuring the cost of COVID-19 for years to come
    • People who are showing early signs of heart disease or cancer won’t get diagnosed because practically every medical doctor is dealing with the coronavirus
    • Alcohol consumption is on the rise as is domestic abuse
      • “The implications of this, just the direct public health implications are enormous and probably immeasurable” – Scott Gottlieb
  • “This is a once in a century pathogen, this is going to change the way we live and there’s not an easy solution until we get to a vaccine” – Scott Gottlieb
  • The warm weather during the summer will help slow down the virus but we don’t know by how much
    • “It will still spread, but probably not with the same efficiency” – Scott Gottlieb
      • If the virus comes back in the Fall, the country will have to go into lockdown once again
  • We need to destigmatize testing and get more people tested 
    • We need to incent those infected to stay home and self-quarantine so they don’t infect others 

COVID-19 Stats  

  • Percent of COVID-19 deaths of people that were less than 65 years old:
    • Germany: 4.9% 
    • Italy: 9% 
    • Netherlands: 5.1% 
    • Portugal: 4.5%
    •  Spain: 4.6%
    • Sweden: 4.8%
    • Switzerland: 3%
  • However, in the US it’s a different story:
    • Louisiana: 23%
    • Detroit: 21%
    • New York City: 29.9%
  • “There seems to be a correlation between poverty and deaths” – Scott Gottlieb
    • Poorer communities tend to be packed together which makes it difficult to socially distance, and the population tends to have more health problems such as smoking or diabetes
      • “This is true of a lot of infectious diseases, they often become diseases of poverty and disproportionately affect people of lower socioeconomic groups for a whole variety of reasons”
  • COVID-19 is highly contagious:
    • 80% of people get mild to moderate disease 
    • 10-20% of people are asymptomatic
    • 10-15% end up with severe pneumonia
    • 10% require hospitalization
    • 5% end up in critical care
    • 1% end up dying 
  • Less than 5% of the US population has been exposed to the coronavirus and look at all the death and problems it’s causing
    • If nothing is done to stop the spread of the virus:
      • Hospitals were been overrun and “There will be no healthcare, it will be all covid” – Scott Gottlieb
      • There will be a lot of deaths from the virus
      • A large percentage of the population won’t be able to go to work or contribute to the economy

China’s Mistakes

  • China did publish the sequenced strain of the virus but they didn’t make the live virus available–the US eventually got the virus, but it took several weeks
    • “This virus has changed the course of history, this had altered the world…this will permanently change how we live till we get to a vaccine” – Scott Gottlieb
      • China knew that wet markets created a risk for a deadly virus: “This is a consequence of something that came out of China…they set up the conditions to create this risk”
  • Had China been more aggressive in containing the virus back in November and forthcoming about the issue, then they might have been able to fully contain the virus
    • “This might’ve been an entirely avoidable world event” – Scott Gottlieb
  • China likely undercounted cases and deaths
    • However, lots of systems in many countries have become overwhelmed making it difficult to keep up with the data

Possible Solutions

  • Scott believes a vaccine for COVID-19 is about 2 years away
  • There are about 6 existing drugs that could potentially help treat the virus
    • However, these drugs must first be tested to see if they’re safe and effective for the general population
The Editors : , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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