Former Food and Drug Administration Director Scott Gottlieb suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should revise its COVID-19 mask recommendation for schools.
“We’re going to probably have to tolerate, and probably should, a higher level of baseline spread at the point at which we consider withdrawing some of this mitigation,” Gottlieb, who is currently a Pfizer board member, told CNBC on Wednesday. Pfizer recently indicated that it is seeking an emergency use authorization from the FDA to give its COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 6 months of age.
Gottlieb added that if the federal government holds out and waits “for 10 cases per 100,000 per day in most communities, we’re probably going to be waiting until the summer” then “we’re going to lose the opportunity this spring to try to return some sense of normalcy in the schools.”
The current CDC guidance, he added, is “a pretty high threshold in the age of Omicron,” noting that a study carried out before the Omicron wave suggested that 90 percent of Americans have COVID-19 antibodies through a prior infection, vaccination, or both.
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.
“We have a much more contagious variant that is probably going to continue to circulate and you have a population that has much more immunity,” Gottlieb also remarked.
The World Health Organization says that children “5 years and under should not be required to wear masks,” which it says “is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.”
Mask mandates for children have increasingly come under fire in the United States, with some health experts saying that masking for kids serves no purpose. Some studies have found that children have perhaps the lowest risk of dying or being hospitalized for COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) demanded an end to COVID-19-related states of emergency and mask mandates.
“In communities across the country, bureaucrats are still forcing young children to wear masks to participate in society, when neither kids nor vaccinated adults are remotely likely to get gravely ill,” he said from the Senate floor. “What exactly are we doing here? Where are the goalposts? What is their end game?”
Nonetheless, some states have continued to impose mask mandates. In late January, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, extended the state’s indoor mask mandate, which applies to schools and some counties, to mid-February.