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‘It Tortures Me That I’m Not There Helping.’ Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on the Fight Against COVID-19

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

By Jamie Ducharme (original source TIME magazine)

“In certain circles, Dr. Scott Gottlieb is famous for keeping a flock of seven chickens in his backyard–and for once retweeting a (fake) cover of the (real) magazine Backyard Poultry bearing his likeness. Under nearly any other circumstances, I would have begged to see said chickens the moment I started talking to the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner.

But in these coronavirus-dictated circumstances, I settled for talking with Gottlieb, 47, from Brooklyn, a socially distant 55 miles from his home in Connecticut–where, save occasional trips to Washington, D.C., he’s hunkered down with his family and his flock.

Despite the fact that Gottlieb is working from home, he arguably has been in the public eye more now than at any time since he resigned from the FDA last spring. A prolific tweeter and constant cable-news presence, he has emerged as one of the leading U.S. voices on COVID-19 mitigation and a key player in crafting the country’s path forward.

Long before most U.S. government officials were talking publicly about the novel coronavirus, Gottlieb was sounding alarms. Concerned by its contagiousness, he began tweeting warnings days after the World Health Organization first acknowledged the new illness on Dec. 31. He started making calls to government officials on Jan. 18. By the end of the month, he had written multiple op-eds about the need to scale up U.S. testing capacity–fast. ‘I got some snickers from associates about why I was tweeting so much about it,’ he admits.”

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