The former leader of the Food and Drug Administration says it’s time to end mask mandates in a “wholesome fashion.”
During an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, former FDA commissioner and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb called for the end of outdoor and indoor mask mandates.
Gottlieb argued that “the public has to trust that public health officials are going to lift these restrictions as quickly as they put them in place as the conditions improve” as a way to “maintain our integrity.”
Gottlieb called for easing restrictions on indoor gatherings as COVID-19 cases drop.
“Every time we talk, we talk about where things are and then you kind of tell us where things are going to be. Your feeling now about maybe changing those mandates for indoor masks. You think they should be lifted do you?” CBS moderator John asked.
Noting that “COVID won’t disappear” and “we’re going to have to learn to live with it,” Gottlieb pointed out the fact that “the risk is substantially reduced as a result of vaccination, as a result of immunity that people have required there prior infection.”
“I think we’re at a point in time where we can start lifting these ordinances in a wholesale fashion. And people have to take precautions based on their individual risk,” Gottlieb added.
“So, we’re at the point where we can start lifting these ordinances and allowing people to resume normal activities. Certainly, outdoors we shouldn’t be putting limits on gatherings anymore,” he declared. “I think we can start lifting these restrictions indoors as well on a broad basis.”
Dickerson jumped in and asked Gottlieb to explain how viewers can “calculate” their own risk of getting covid if they do not wear a mask 24/7 and everywhere they go.
Gottlieb said “you can start resuming normal activity” because of the high efficacy of the vaccines.
“The data now does support that. So, we could start drawing some firm conclusions and basing our public health advice on that,” he said.
“But I think for, you know, most consumers who need something to anchor against, I think that that’s a fair assessment that if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID with one of the Western vaccines, your risk of having a bad outcome from COVID is about comparable to flu and maybe less because the vaccines for COVID are more effective than the vaccines for flu. So, I think that that’s a reasonable way for the average consumer to anchor their thinking about COVID right now,” Gottlieb added.
“I think we can get back to doing normal things right now against the backdrop of a summer when prevalence is going to decline very quickly,” he said.
He added: “The public has to trust that public health officials are going to lift these restrictions as quickly as they put them in place as the conditions improve. And that’s probably partly what’s holding back the economy right now.”