Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can start to consider lifting indoor mask mandates now, as more and more Americans are vaccinated.
“I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in,” said Gottlieb. “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.”
The former FDA chief in the Trump administration added that he thinks “the only way to earn public credibility is to demonstrate that you’re willing to relax these provisions as the situation improves.”
The Covid positivity rate in the U.S. is 3.6%, an all-time low according to Johns Hopkins University. It’s a stark difference from April 2020, when the positivity rate hit nearly 23%, meaning nearly a quarter of all tests administered came back positive.
In an interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Thursday evening, Gottlieb explained that the overall outlook for vaccinations in the U.S. “looks very good,” especially as the FDA prepares to approve Pfizer‘s Covid vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds soon.
“Even if vaccination rates are slowing, we’re still going to continue to chip away at getting more people vaccinated…but I think that these gains are locked in, and the summer looks very good,” Gottlieb said.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. Pfizer has a manufacturing agreement with Gilead for remdesivir. Gottlieb also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean‘s “Healthy Sail Panel.”