The recent Biden administration restrictions on passengers from India are unlikely to play a significant role in curbing new cases of coronavirus in the United States, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday.
“Will it have an impact? Maybe a small impact on margins in terms of reducing deployment. This will not drastically affect our trajectory at this time,” the former food and medicine commissioner told Bell Closure. “It will probably do more harm to India than any benefit it attributes to us.”
Gottlieb, who is a board member of vaccine maker Covid Pfizer, said he said the main reason for restricting travel from India to the White House was concerns about a variant of the coronavirus known as B.1.617. It was first found in the country and is thought to be highly contagious.
“But this option is still here, and the best way to reduce the risk of this option is, frankly, to vaccinate more Americans,” said Gottlieb, who heads the FDA in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019. “This will be the best stop against the spread of this option without restricting travel at this time. “
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Friday Friday that travel restrictions will take effect on Tuesday. In recent weeks, there has been a large influx of Covid cases in India, which is exacerbating the health care system as the number of daily deaths reaches new records.
The travel order is expected to apply to non-US citizens or permanent residents who have recently been to India, according to a person familiar with the matter. This means that the restrictions will take a similar format to those that have been applied to many trips to the US from China, Brazil and the European Union, effectively banning most visitors from India to the US.
“There are some studies that show that when you apply travel restrictions – and most studies look at this in the context of an influenza pandemic – that you can delay the introduction of a virus into a new region, that you delay the introduction and may reduce the epidemic peak. who will survive another country, “Gottlieb said.
If the United States imposed travel restrictions “that were not as current” earlier in the pandemic, Gottlieb said, the coronavirus could enter the country and limit the severity of the outbreak.
“But at this point here in the United States, we have enough virus that we will not prevent the introduction of the virus from India,” he said.
The White House did not respond immediately to CNBC’s request for comment on Gottlieb’s remarks.
Coronavirus cases in the United States continue to decline as more Americans are vaccinated against Covid. On Friday, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than 100 million Americans were fully vaccinated.
The pace of new vaccinations is slowing every day, and states are working to find ways to reach out to Americans who aren’t particularly eager to get Covid.
“I think we can keep repelling it,” Gottlieb said, suggesting that dropping medium shots a day “doesn’t mean we’re doing a bad job.” He added: “I think it’s inevitable that it will start to slow down when you enter a softer search.”
“Things like vaccination buses, where they just get on the communities and people can show up and get vaccinated on the spot without waiting. That’s the way we’re going to vaccinate more people,” Gottlieb added. “Also the delivery of vaccines through workplaces, this will also help.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and a member of the board of Pfizer, which is launching the Tempus genetic test, health technology company Aetion Inc. and biotechnology company Illumina. He is also co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Healthy Sail Panel.