May 1 is 'a target' for reopening the US, but too early to tell: FDA commissioner

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn is interviewed on "This Week."
7:28 | 04/12/20

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Transcript for May 1 is 'a target' for reopening the US, but too early to tell: FDA commissioner
So when can we reopen the country and what what our new normal look life. Doctor Anthony found she says we could see an antibody tests soon. Which could detect immunity how effective are those tests and how soon will be FDA commissioner approved them for use. FDA commissioner doctor Stephen Hahn. Joins us now. Good morning doctor Kon I want to start with the latest models which are projecting that the US. Peak in terms of daily deaths would likely be today the president citing models that he said. Show Easter as hitting the top of the curve and then starting to come down. Have we peaked and does this mean the worst may have past. Martha thank you for having me on the show. So. And the models do show that we are very close to the peak and so I think that information is accurate. This has been a very fast moving outbreak. And so we really have to take this day by day. We have some of the best experts in the world doctor felt she doctor Burks on this. So I think that information is is accurate but again we had to take this day by day as the data come in because this has to be gay be given a budget driven approach. And of course the president had initially set today is a target date for reopening the country he backed off of that. But there are new warning signs about opening the country even by may first that. New York Times obtained new federal projection showing a spike in infections if restrictions are lifted. And the model the White House often cites predicts a death total of 60000. Only if full social distancing. Is kept in place through the end of may so wouldn't we be taking a big risk relaxing those measures now. But those are obviously the the issues that are going into the the assessment of winning is the right time to go back Mars I think. That public safety and the welfare the American people has to come first. That's been the constant message from the president the vice president and within the task force itself. So that has to ultimately drive these decisions. There there obviously other considerations I've heard from friends and colleagues around the world. The people really do want to get back to a more normal life than what we've had the last several weeks. But we've got to get the data as they come in we have to look at what we know about this illness what's happened in other countries. And put them into the situation to that the plan moving forward so. So guess what you know now council SARS Ers are giving given what you know is may first a good target when you look at it now. More think it is a target on an obviously we're hopeful about that target but I think it's just too early to be able to tell that. We see light at the end of the tunnel doctor felt she doctor Burks has said that we see the incredible resiliency of the American people with respect to social distancing hand washing. And all those mitigation factors so that gives me great hope. But I think it's just too early for us to say whether may first is that date arm but more to come on that as we learn more information and as our planning proceeds. And on Thursday the president suggested widespread. Testing isn't necessary and here's what he said about sending people back to worked. In states with lower density. Does not a lot of issues with testing. Certain sections of the and we go to Iowa we go to Nebraska they're very very capable states and they're. Big distances lot of land a lot of opening. You don't need testing there. More than two thirds of rural counties have confirmed cases so how can Americans safely return to work with out a nationwide test insist. Martha this that there are a lot of factors that will go into this one is the geographic location the number of tests. The number of people who've been infected. If you look at the testing where it is right now the strategic approach has been to focus that testing in the hot spot areas. Where if people come forward and are sick as many as thirty to 40% test positive. Whereas in other areas where there aren't a lot of sick people and some of those are rural areas it's less than 5%. So our strategy moving forward for opening up the country has to take all of those factors into account and and yes. Further ramping up testing boast diagnostic as well as he antibody test. Will really be necessary as we move beyond Maine into the summer months and then into the fall why wouldn't. Other countries like the UK Germany South Korea have been able to do testing of millions of people. Are we still so far behind over it was over a week ago. That the Abbott test a rapid tests was FDA approved it is still not in widespread. Use this is preventing people from going back to work getting out of quarantine. When exactly will it be available in every major city in the US. So Martha this is a pretty complicated situation and its rapidly moving on and that's. Two not to suggest anything other than. There's certainly pressure on the supply chain in terms of getting supplies. I'm we have heard a night person you've heard from people on the ground that in some years it's very easy to get a test and other areas not. And we have to really as a whole of US government approach. Have to make sure that we get those testing to the areas that that need them. And again it's been a strategic approached. Doctor Burks doctor felt she in the podium on Friday mention that. And we've done over two million tests which is more than any other country now we need to do more no question about that. At an and I want to get to those antibody test doctor Thatcher said we're just days away from being able to use antibody test which can detect whether somebody has already been exposed to it in May have immunity. Do you expect the FDA to validate those tests for use in the coming. Days and how fast will they get out there. So FDA's already authorized one antibody test there a number that are on the market that we haven't validated that we haven't looked at those data. And there is a US government efforts to look at some of those tests. And to be. A but we do expect actor felt she's right the team has talked about this we're working with the number of really good manufactures they've come forward. With their platforms and so we do expect that relatively soon. And again this is the dependent upon the data and the science because it's gotta be that decision. And Martha just had put a point on this we've seen reports other countries some of the countries you mentioned that have obtained antibody tests that aren't accurate. I think it's really important for the American people to know that we need tests that are accurate reliable and reproduce civil that's what FDA does in a science and data driven way. And if someone does have these and a bodies do you believe they can safely return to work is this really the key these antibody test. Of getting this country on its feet again. It's one of the keys I'm and I think as both doctor Burks conductor felt she said at the podium on Friday. It's one of the factors that will go into this including the underlying characteristics of the person. Into whether there are more susceptible to a more serious Al crow from Kobe nineteenth where they live what the prevalence of the disease is in the environment. And whether they've had a diagnostic test that's positive previously are not so all those factors will go into it. And including whether you have antibodies because that should be protected as you point down. Thank you commissioner Han.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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