The former head of the Food & Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, recently shared that the United States should lift all mask mandates indoors in light of vaccination rates, plummeting cases nationwide, and maintaining trust in public health officials. His comments come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines to say that people who have been fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask outdoors unless they are near large groups of people.
Even though President Biden has been seen ignoring the CDC guidelines himself and wearing a mask outdoors when he is alone, the “science” to back up mask mandates grows weaker by the day.
“We need to preserve the credibility of public health officials to reimplement some of these restrictions as we get into next winter if we do start seeing outbreaks again. And I think the only way to earn public credibility is to demonstrate that you’re willing to relax these provisions when the situation improves. That’s what gives you the credibility to implement them when things worsen,” Gottlieb told CNBC host Shepard Smith.
He shared as they get into May that the prevalence levels will start to decline, especially in areas with high vaccination rates.
“I think over the course of this month that we will see the picture improve sharply enough that by the end of the month, we’re gonna be lifting these mask mandates. Even if vaccination rates are slowing, we’re still going to continue to chip away at getting more people vaccinated, but I think that these gains are locked in, and the summer looks very good, Gottlieb adds.
The new CDC guidelines state that there’s “early evidence” to support that vaccinated people are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection and transmit the virus. Those who are vaccinated can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or socially distancing, visit with unvaccinated people from a single household, and refrain from quarantine and testing following known exposure to COVID-19.
The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said there is a “small risk” that vaccinated people could become infected with milder disease, but shares that the levels of COVID-19 infection decline are low enough to leave the mask mandates behind.
Florida has already become the latest in signing bills to cease all COVID-19-related emergency orders in the state, including business restrictions and mask mandates. The bill will invalidate all COVID-19 restrictions as of July 1, as well as suspend the emergency orders until the law takes effect. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also issued an executive order to lift all business restrictions and mask requirements in the state no later than the end of May.
“COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency. As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it’s time to lift remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee,” said Gov. Lee.
Kansas has also ordered the rollback of COVID-19 orders and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation to ban state or local mask mandates. Many forms of legislation have also included provisions to prohibit the states and local governments from requiring vaccinations or “vaccine passports” to access services.
But not all CDC guidelines support the decisions of the state. The CDC still suggests that all people, regardless of vaccine status, should continue wearing a mask indoors. Gottlieb told CNBC that states should begin lifting mask mandates “as aggressively as we put them in” citing a recent study that suggests lifting mask mandates would produce an overall increase of 13% in vaccine eagerness.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that Americans value freedom and want their pre-Covid normalcy. Most red state governors have argued that treating vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans the same doesn’t make any sense in terms of science or individual freedom. They want people to get the vaccine, but they want the emergency measures to persist indefinitely.