Ex-NIH Director Confirms 'No Science' Behind 6-Foot Distancing Rules

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 04:15 PM

Newly released testimony from former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins confirms that Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx did not base the pandemic-era six-foot social distancing rule on science, and instead were making things up as they went along.

On Thursday, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, released a transcript from Collins' January closed-door interview, in which he's asked about a range of issues - including the lab-leak theory and the six-foot social distancing rule.

"We asked Dr. Fauci where the six feet came from and he said it kind of just appeared, is the quote," the majority counsel on the committee told Dr. Collins, per the transcript. "Do you recall science or evidence that supported the six-feet distance?"

"I do not," Collins replied.

Counsel then asked, "Is that I do not recall or I do not see any evidence supporting six feet?"

To which Collins replied "I did not see evidence, but I’m not sure I would have been shown evidence at that point."

"Since then, it has been an awfully large topic. Have you seen any evidence since then supporting six feet?" Counsel replied.

"No," said Collins.

As the Epoch Times notes further, the remarks by Dr. Collins offer further indication that officials issuing guidelines at the height of the pandemic were, at least to some extent, making decisions that were not explicitly supported by scientific data.

Various officials involved in crafting the U.S. pandemic response, including Dr. Fauci, have said that they were making good-faith decisions based on the available data at the time and that once new information emerged, they adjusted their recommendations accordingly.

Social Distancing In Focus

As the COVID-19 outbreak spread in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance describing social distancing to include staying away from congregant settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others when possible.

The CDC’s latest guidance on respiratory virus infection prevention (updated on April 4, 2024) includes a section on physical distancing. It indicates that putting physical distance between oneself and others can help lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

There is no single number that defines a ’safe' distance, since spread of viruses can depend on many factors,” the guidance states, which comports with studies such as one from 2021 that concluded that the one-size-fits-all six-foot physical distancing rule is invalid.

However, the CDC’s latest guidance for healthcare settings, updated on March 18, 2024, makes several references to six feet. For instance, it recommends that in dental facilities with open floor plans, one strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to ensure “at lest 6 feet of space between patient chairs.” It also defines “close contact” between individuals as “being within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the CDC with a request for comment on Dr. Collins’s remarks and for clarification on what scientific basis the agency incorporated the six-foot figure into its COVID-19 prevention guidance.

In March, the CDC also updated its guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19, telling them that they no longer need to isolate for five days.

The updated guidance indicated that the threat from COVID-19 has fallen to become more similar to that of other respiratory viruses, and so rather than providing additional virus-specific guidelines, the CDC was opting for a “unified, practical approach.”

In justifying its shift to the new guidelines, which basically treat COVID-19 like any other respiratory virus, the CDC said that many people with respiratory virus symptoms often don’t know which pathogen is causing their symptoms, so a unified approach is more practical.

Numerous doctors had long urged the CDC to drop the five-day isolation recommendation, though as recently as mid-February, the agency continued to hold off on making the change, citing the need for more consultation.

In the updated guidelines, the CDC gave a nod to the “personal and societal costs of extended isolation,” including limited paid sick time.

A number of experts and studies have warned about the harms of prolonged isolation during the pandemic. For instance, the American Psychological Association said in November 2023 that Americans have suffered “collective trauma” related to the pandemic. The association cited a study suggesting that the heavy-handed response to the COVID-19 outbreak—which, in addition to the social distancing rule, included quarantines, school closures, business shutdowns, and near-universal mandating of masks—had a negative effect on people’s physical and mental health.

Another study that looked at a wide array of research into lockdowns concluded that such measures can be an effective tool in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic but only if “long-term collateral damage is neglected.”

The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: by using the known connection between health and wealth, we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save,” the study’s authors wrote.

The researchers also warned about the widespread censorship of dissenting opinions about the lockdowns, noting that it prevents the scientific community from correcting its mistakes and undermines public trust in science.

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