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Former FDA commissioner expects New York health-care system will be pushed to the brink, but 'won't go over'

Tim O'Donnell

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued some dire warnings since the early days of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, but on Sunday he indicated some steps taken by the U.S. federal government and states might be paying off — both in terms of curbing the spread and preparing the health-care system for an onslaught of patients.

New York City remains the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, and its hospitals are struggling. Gottlieb reiterated the predication made by numerous officials that the city, and New York state, are on the verge of peaking next week, which will undoubtedly stretch the health-care system thin. But he said he, ultimately, he thinks there will be enough ventilators for severe COVID-19 patients thanks to a historic effort to expand their supply, preventing New York from going past its tipping point.

As for the rest of the country, Gottlieb believes mitigation efforts like social distancing are "clearly working," as case rates slow in northern states, though he's concerned the next set of hot spots will be in the South.

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