Ex-FDA Chief Gottlieb: People Should Own Judgments on COVID Risks

Given how mask mandates are decreasing throughout the country, Americans will need to make their own individual assessments of their own personal risks regarding COVID-19, according to former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

“The people most likely to get into trouble with COVID have now been protected through vaccination,” Gottlieb told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, pointing to declining hospitalizations amid an overwhelming number of vaccinated seniors.

After host John Dickerson asked how people should navigate the beginning of a “post-pandemic stage,” Gottlieb said people should protect themselves based on their own assessments of risk and comfort.

“So if you’re unvaccinated, you’re going to be at higher risk,” Gottlieb told Dickerson. “If you’re in a high prevalence area where there’s still a lot of infection, you’re going to be at higher risk.

“If you have a preexisting medical condition that could put you at higher risk because you’re either immunocompromised, because of medicine you might be on, or you have a risk factor like heart disease or lung disease, you’re going to be at higher risk as well.

“So, I think people may need to make individual assessments of their risk as they make judgments about what they should and should be doing, like wearing a mask in an indoor setting and also judging the setting.”

Acknowledging that, despite not necessarily needing to, people may still wear masks, Gottlieb said.

“And in some places, it’s the etiquette,” he said. “If you go into a pharmacy or a doctor’s office, people expect you to be wearing a mask. So people have also got to make an assessment about what their comfort level is.

“The good news is that I think culturally we’ve changed in that if you’re walking around with a mask right now, you’re not looked upon in an odd fashion. Whereas, you know, two years ago, if you wore a mask, everyone would take a step back from you.”

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