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Former FDA Chief Gottlieb: Pandemic May Be Over by Jan. 4

'These mandates that are going to be put in place by Jan. 4 really are coming on the tail end of this pandemic,' former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.
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Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that by the time President Joe Biden’s workplace vaccine requirements begin Jan. 4, the pandemic may be done.

“These mandates that are going to be put in place by Jan. 4 really are coming on the tail end of this pandemic,” Gottlieb, who’s a board member of Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report, told CNBC.

“By Jan. 4, this pandemic may well be over, at least as it relates to the U.S., after we get through this delta wave of infection. And we’ll be in a more endemic phase of this virus.”

The Biden administration's order for vaccination or regular Covid testing applies to all workers of companies with more than 100 employees.

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It also applies to federal contractors and healthcare providers. And the rules require unvaccinated workers to begin wearing masks indoors by Dec. 5 and provide a negative Covid test on a weekly basis after Jan. 4.

Pfizer shares soared 8% Friday, after the health-care giant said its Covid treatment cuts the risk of hospitalization and death by 89%, topping results published by rival Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report.

Pfizer said it would give the data to the FDA as part of its emergency-use authorization application, which it filed earlier this month, following trials involving around 1,200 patients.

Pfizer said only 0.8% of participants who received the treatment -- along with its existing HIV treatment ritonavir -- within three days of developing symptoms were hospitalized. None, Pfizer said, had died. That compared to a hospitalization rate of 7% for those given a placebo.