Former FDA chief sees 'extreme' coronavirus risk in U.S. cities

As cities across the U.S. try to limit cases of coronavirus transmission and infection, one former top health official says the worst is yet to come.

Scott Gottlieb is the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER SCOTT GOTTLIEB, SAYING:

"Well I think that the scenes out of New York are going to be shocking. I think that the hospitals in the next two weeks are going to be at the brink of being overwhelmed and we're going to start to see places like Javits convention center and other facilities used to start to house people. They're going to start getting thousands of admissions coming into that city and this was an infection that started two weeks ago. The time to hospitalization is nine to twelve days. I think there's other cities that are at extreme risk. New Orleans is at very high risk and they're not taking appropriate measures. This is a sticky virus. We're learning that much more of the transmission probably happens from touching contaminated surfaces. So any city that has a mass transit system is probably at risk and needs to be taking very aggressive steps. Cities like Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Boston. You've seen San Francisco implement tough measures. Illinois recently implemented tough measures. We need to continue that right now."

The disease has killed at least 400 in the United States and sickened more than 33,000, leading state governors to order nearly a third of the nation's population to shelter in place and putting business activity on hold.