CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta said Wednesday that Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins might be right to question the guidance put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Gupta joined anchors Brianna Keilar and John Berman to discuss Tuesday’s hearing with Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. The former U.S. surgeon general candidate said the organization’s conflicting messaging had raised questions about whether or not it was following the science. (RELATED: Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Wuhan Lab-Leak Theory Is ‘Much More Informed’ Coming From Robert Redfield)
Keilar opened the segment by noting that it was important for Americans to have faith in public health institutions like the CDC, following that with a clip of Collins from Tuesday’s hearing.
“I used to have the utmost respect for the guidance from the CDC. I always considered the CDC to be the gold standard. I don’t anymore,” Collins said.
Keilar said that there were a number of Americans who appeared to agree with her.
“It pains me to say this, but I see where she’s coming from, Senator Collins, on this,” Gupta replied. “I think for a long time the concern was the CDC was providing guidance at the beginning of the pandemic that was not scientifically based, and as a result, we didn’t do things we should have done in this country that could have greatly mitigated what has happened here. And now I think it’s almost a little bit of a reverse problem. The science is not necessarily being followed to the same extent and as a result we’re probably doing things that we don’t need to be doing.”
Gupta argued that the CDC’s recommendations at the beginning seemed to not be stringent enough to accurately reflect the risk of transmission. But following the advent and successful rollout of the vaccine and multiple effective therapeutics, as well as further research, more people have been starting to believe that the CDC’s guidelines have been too strict.
“In the end, the CDC needs to be just a science-based organization,” Gupta continued. “What does the science say? You don’t need to wear a mask outside. It’s just one of these things that, again, we’ve known this for some time.”
Gupta went on to say that indoor guidelines for masks should reflect the transmission and vaccination rate of the area in order to best prevent further spread of the virus.
“Indoor masking, it’s hard to paint the country with one brush. Let me show you. There are areas of the country that have a higher viral transmission than other areas. Half the country is still unvaccinated,” he said.
“If you’re vaccinated, I don’t think you have to wear a mask indoors either. This is what the science is showing,” Gupta concluded. He added that he understands the CDC was “erring on the side of caution,” but said the science should be the driving factor when it comes to official statements and guidelines.