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Former FDA Scott Gottlieb head urges CDC to change indoor mask guidance

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
 

The CDC should amend its guidance to recommend lifting mask guidance in areas experiencing low rates of the virus, the FDA’s former head said Sunday.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who ran the federal Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019, said the CDC is trying to maintain a “national standard” with its recommendations for masks indoors in public settings.

“There’s still parts of the country that have a lot of overcrowded infection,” he noted.

“When you look at states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, they’re at about … 100 cases per 100,000 people per day. That’s a pretty dense epidemic,” Gottlieb told CBS anchor Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

“So the CDC has a hard time setting a national standard across a very diverse experience with this.”

Former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the CDC should change its indoor mask guidance based on areas of “local prevalence of the virus.”
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

But Gottlieb said he hopes and expects the agency to release mask recommendations based on communities’ “local prevalence of the virus.”

“That’s probably where they should have been all along. I think they’re going to make that adaptation because there clearly are parts of the country where prevalence is low enough now and heading in a positive direction that they can start lifting this mitigation,” he said.

People wear face masks in Times Square in NYC.
People wear face masks in Times Square in NYC.
Getty Images

New York has been among the states that have lifted their indoor mask mandates for businesses.

“We are not where we were in early December,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said last week. “New Yorkers did the right thing to get through the winter surge, and we can now lift the statewide mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses.”

New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon and California also announced plans last week to lift their own indoor masks rules.
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