Fmr FDA Chief: ‘The case fatality rate is going down’

Former FDA Commissioner, Doctor Scott Gottlieb was on ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS News on Sunday to discuss recent spikes of Covid-19 cases. 

“The President has tweeted yesterday that the media is focused too much on these growing number of cases, and he is making the point that deaths and the all-important mortality rate is going down, and we’re not hearing enough about that. How do you understand what is happening with deaths and mortality?” asked host Margaret Brennan. 

“Well, we need to separate the number of deaths going down from the actual case fatality rate, how lethal is this? The case fatality rate is going down, although we’re not able to measure it right now because we’re able to save more people who are hospitalized and get critically ill because of advances in care,” responded Dr. Gottlieb.

“The number of deaths has gone down because the number of infections went down for a period of time. And more of the new infections right now are in younger people. And we’re protecting more vulnerable populations like people in nursing homes. But the total number of deaths is going to start going up again as the number of hospitalizations starts to spike again. So we’re going to see deaths creep up. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the next two weeks to see deaths go over a thousand. That doesn’t mean the case fatality rate, the actual death rate isn’t declining. But when you have more infections, even if the death rate is declining, you’re going to get more deaths tragically. So if we cut the death rate in half, if we make this half less lethal than it was, but we double the number of infections, we’re going to get more deaths. And I think we’re going to start to see that. So we shouldn’t just focus on the crude mortality rate, the number of deaths to tell the story of what’s happening medically. Medically, we are improving. But we just have so much infection around this country, we’re going to see, unfortunately, a lot of lethalities.”