For more than a year now, former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb has provided analysis and (occasionally) criticism of the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in recent weeks, Dr. Gottlieb, who led the FDA during the first two years of the Trump Administration, has sounded increasingly critical of the Biden Administration. First, he pushed for the CDC to end its requirements on outdoor masks, arguing that the agency had waited too long already. No sooner did an editorial penned by Dr. Gottlieb appear in WSJ than President Biden scheduled a press conference to announce the change.
The good doctor has also warned that President Biden's projections to have the vast majority of American adults fully vaccinated by the end of the summer was far too rosy, and failed to account for the large number of young people refusing to take the vaccine altogether.
But during one of his regular appearances on CNBC's "Squawk Box", Dr. Gottlieb warned Thursday that the CDC and FDA need to further relax certain aspects of their COVID-19 restrictions, or risk sacrificing their credibility in the eyes of the public
"The challenge is if we don't lift restrictions with the same speed as we imposed them we lose credibility...because the public will be wondering if this is a one-way street. We have to be willing to lift the mask ordinances completely and I think the risk to the CDC as an institution is that they lose relevancy and that people stop listening to them," Dr. Gottlieb said.
The doctor also warned American businesses not to wait for the CDC to tell them that it's safe to stop wearing masks in the office and other behavioral guidelines during the period between when most American workers are already back in the office (at least part time) but new cases continue to be reported.
"If businesses are waiting for prescriptive guidance from the CDC...I think they ought to think twice and maybe try to develop guidelines on their own or it will look like the guidelines the CDC gave to summer camps which are byzantine and hard to follow," Dr. Gottlieb warned.
"I think there's going to be pockets of vulnerability, there are pockets in the country where vaccination rates are lower...there's going to continue to be these hot spots across the country it's a big diverse nation..." Gottlieb added.
"Guidance for the nation as a whole should be to give more flexibility to individuals to go out without some of these restrictions that we had in place during the peak of the epidemic."
Watch a clip from the interview below:
"If businesses are waiting for prescriptive guidance on how to reopen in the fall...they should start developing those guidelines on their own," @ScottGottliebMD says. "It's going to end up like the guidance the CDC put out for summer camps which is byzantine and hard to follow." pic.twitter.com/lPhs0QhtLw— CNBC (@CNBC) April 28, 2021