White House COVID-19 czar Ashish Jha on Tuesday admitted that the six-foot social distancing rule that was implemented in early 2020 isn’t actually effective.
Over the past several years, “a lot of time” was spent “talking about six feet of distance, 15 minutes of being together. We realize that’s actually not the right way to think about this,” he said during a White House briefing on COVID-19.
“That’s not the most accurate way to think about this,” Jha said, adding that it is about “the quality of air you’re breathing around you.”
In a crowded indoor area with poor ventilation, people can “get infected” with COVID-19 “in minutes,” Jha said, adding that being outdoors you can be “outside for long periods of time” and not get infected.
‘Nobody Knows’A former administration for the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, revealed in late 2021 that the six-foot rule was made up.
The CDC, he said, initially recommended a 10-foot rule, and the six-foot rule was a compromise between the federal health agency and Trump administration officials.
“So the compromise was around six feet. Now imagine if that detail had leaked out. Everyone would have said, ‘This is the White House politically interfering with the CDC’s judgment.’ The CDC said 10 feet, it should be 10 feet, but 10 feet was no more right than six feet and ultimately became three feet,” Gottlieb remarked.
The CDC also said in its update that it’s no longer recommending unvaccinated people to quarantine after exposure. Unvaccinated people who have been in close contact with an infected person aren’t advised to go through a five-day quarantine period if they haven’t tested positive or shown symptoms, according to the revised guidelines.
Regardless of vaccination status, according to the CDC, “you should isolate from others when you have COVID-19” or are “sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but do not yet have test results.” Previously, the CDC said fully vaccinated people who were exposed could skip the quarantine period.