With at least 59 confirmed cases, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that Japan could be in a brink of a COVID-19 pandemic as instances of confirmed coronavirus infection in the Asian country almost doubled only in the last few days.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the former FDA commissioner also said that Japan could be a key indicator when it comes to predicting a pandemic-level spread of the deadly coronavirus. Japan appears to be “on the cusp of a large outbreak and maybe epidemic growth in Japan. We need to watch that very closely. They’ve had a doubling of cases just in the last four days,” Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb argues that if other countries present this sharp rise in the number of infections within its borders for a short period of time, it could be a sign that the deadly coronavirus is very difficult to control on a global scale.
With more than 1,700 deaths and a total of 70,548 confirmed cases as of February 16, the COVID-19 outbreak has been considered by many analysts and governments as a massive threat to market stability around the world. In an earlier forecast, analysts believe that the global outbreak becomes the biggest threat to the stock market today.
“The coronavirus is the No. 1 threat to financial markets currently as global investors are becoming jittery on the uncertainty,” said Nigel Green, the founder of the investment group deVere Group.
“This is a worrying and serious situation, and investors must be vigilant,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gottlieb said in a statement earlier this month that it’s likely the flu-like virus will grow into a pandemic but avoid becoming an epidemic in the United States.