Former FDA Head: Mask Mandates Should End In ‘Wholesale Fashion,’ Officials Need To Rollback Restrictions To Keep ‘Integrity’

"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."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 05: FDA Commissioner-designate Scott Gottlieb testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on April 5, 2017 at on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
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Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that COVID-19-related restrictions, including mask mandates, should be lifted in “wholesale fashion” as the risk of the virus plummets. Gottlieb also argued that public health officials need to keep their “integrity” and foster trust with the American people by ordering the shedding of restrictions as conditions better. Newsbusters reported:

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.”

And from there, he announced: “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.”

“We’ve always said from a public health standpoint that we would set as a metric maybe when we get down to 10 people per 100,000 people on a daily basis,” Gottlieb continued. “Well, half the country is there right now. If you want to be more conservative and say 5 cases per 100,000 people, well, this week – by this week probably a quarter of states will be there.”

“We’re at the point where we can start lifting these ordinances and allowing people to resume normal activities,” the former FDA commissioner asserted. “Certainly, outdoors we shouldn’t be putting limits on gatherings anymore. We should be encouraging people to go outside. And in the states where prevalence is low, vaccination rates are high and we have good testing in place so we’re identifying infections, I think we can start lifting these restrictions indoors as well on a broad basis.”

Gottlieb, a Pfizer board member, then discussed the effectiveness of the Trump-harnessed COVID-19 vaccines. “If you’ve been vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines or the J&J vaccine, your risk is very low from having a bad COVID outcome and your risk of getting an asymptomatic infection that you could spread to others is also substantially reduced,” he said. “The data now does support that. So, we could start drawing some firm conclusions and basing our public health advice on that.”

“The risk is substantially reduced from vaccination,” Gottlieb added. “And I think you can sort of conclude that probably your risk from COVID if you’re fully vaccinated, is comparable, maybe even less than your risk from flu if you’re fully vaccinated in older individuals. So, you know, you can start resuming normal activity.”

As noted by Newsbusters, Gottlieb noted that “all health officials needed to start pushing for the lifting of mask mandates as a way to ‘maintain our integrity and our ability to reimplement these things when we have to.'”

“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,” he said. “And that’s probably partly what’s holding back the economy right now.”

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