May 7, 2021 - Health

Former FDA head Gottlieb: CDC should consider lifting indoor mask mandates

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Thursday night that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should consider lifting indoor mask mandates since vaccination rates have rapidly increased in the U.S.

Why it matters: The CDC said late last month that people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus don't have to wear masks outdoors and had previously said that vaccinated people can take fewer precautions in certain situations.

What they're saying: “I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in,” Gottlieb told CNBC.

  • “We need to preserve the credibility of public health officials to perhaps reimplement some of these provisions as we get into next winter, if we do start seeing outbreaks again.”
  • “Even if vaccination rates are slowing, we’re still going to continue to chip away at getting more people vaccinated. It's just that the demand that's left is just weaker demand. The people who are really going to line up for these vaccines lined up for them. Now, we have to make a harder effort to get into the community and get vaccines in places that are convenient for people."
  • "But I think that these gains are locked in, and the summer looks very good,” Gottlieb added.

The big picture: Thanks to vaccines, Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months and deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly as well, Axios' Sam Baker and Andrew Witherspoon report.

  • Over half of all American adults have now gotten at least one shot of a vaccine, and 41% of adults are fully vaccinated.
  • However, administering more vaccines may become more difficult because adults who are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated have likely already received at least one dose.

Go deeper: The next 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in the U.S.

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