Average daily new coronavirus cases in U.S. hit all-time high, Gottlieb warns of ‘exponential spread’

Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the rise in cases in the northern parts of the country is a preview of what’s to come as other parts of the country hit colder weather. He said family gatherings during the holidays could prove especially dangerous.

“As families consider getting together for Thanksgiving, they really need to think twice about bringing their elderly parents and their younger kids and college kids in contact with one another,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. “Because I think we’re about to go through our most dangerous time here in the U.S.”

The worrying rise in new cases come after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged on Sunday that the U.S. is not going to control the pandemic.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows told CNN. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”

Pressed on why the U.S. can’t make efforts to control the pandemic, Meadows said: “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the U.S. testing effort, said Monday, however, that “I think we can control the pandemic.”

He cited efforts in Arizona, Florida and Texas earlier this year to bring outbreaks there under control as evidence that a coordinated effort to implement public health measures can bring the virus under control. He urged people to frequently wash their hands, wear a mask and to practice social distancing.

“The data are pretty clear that we can, not 100% defeat, but we can control it,” he said.

—CNBC’s Emma Newburger, Nate Rattner and Abigail Ng contributed to this report.