Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called for states to lift coronavirus restrictions as vaccination rates rise and infection rates drop.
“The risk is reduced as result of immunity. People are at the point where we can start lifting the ordinances in a wholesale fashion and people have to take precautions,” Gottlieb told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Gottlieb currently sits on the board of Pfizer, which produces one of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.
Gottlieb emphasized that the coronavirus is not fully going away from American life any time soon.
“We will have to learn to live with it. The risk is reduced as result of immunity,” he said. (RELATED: More Americans Now Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Than Confirmed Infected)
People “have to judge their own risk and decide if they’re going to avoid crowds or wear masks based on the circumstances. We have always said we would set as a metric when we get down to 10 cases per 100,000. Half the country is there now. If you want to be more conservative and say five per 100,000, this week, a quarter of states will be there. Right now we can start lifting the ordinances and allowing people to reform normal activities,” Gottlieb continued.
More and more states are lifting their coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates. Texas, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Oklahoma ended their statewide mask mandates at the beginning of March, and their infection rates have continued to decline.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that outdoor masking is unnecessary for people who have been vaccinated, although the agency has been widely criticized for moving too slowly in announcing reopening guidance.