Meghan McCain challenged Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the inconsistent messaging coming from experts on COVID-19, particularly for those who have already been vaccinated.
Gupta, who serves as CNN’s chief medical correspondent, joined Thursday’s broadcast of “The View” to discuss the continued impact pf the coronavirus pandemic. (RELATED: ‘It Pains Me To Say This’: CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Agrees With Susan Collins In Questioning CDC)
“Dr. Gupta, a lot of people feel the goal posts keep moving on returning to normal life,” McCain began. “We were told vaccines would set us free, but fully vaccinated people like me are still being asked to follow strict guidelines like mask wearing, and Dr. Fauci says he’s still not comfortable eating inside a restaurant, even though he’s fully vaccinated.”
“I’ve almost given up trying to figure out the messaging,” McCain continued. “I want to be respectful, but I want to go back to life. I was told if I got vaccinated I could go back to life. But are the experts not following their own science on this?”
“You’re right in a lot of ways, Meghan,” Gupta replied. “The science is the science. A year ago we were having a conversation saying people aren’t following the science and as a result they’re not doing things. Now in part as a result of not following the science we’re probably doing things we don’t need to do. The science is the science.”
Gupta went on to note that part of the problem was that science was constantly changing. When the pandemic first began, he said, no one knew whether outdoor transmission of the coronavirus was going to be a problem or even possible — but the available information on that had changed over time.
“Now we know there’s probably been no cases or very, very few cases of outdoor transmission. Mask wearing outdoors is not necessary if you’re vaccinated and if you’re not vaccinated it doesn’t appear to be necessary. That’s a significant difference. That’s what the science shows,” Gupta said.
He went on to say that guidelines on indoor masking were trickier because it was difficult to be sure who and how many of the people in the room had been vaccinated — and that vaccinated people, though unlikely to get sick themselves, could still carry the virus.
“Meghan, I guess the answer is, yes, ultimately we’ll get back to normal. There’s a lot of normal things already. The weight of the world of feeling like I’m not going to die from this virus is a significant burden lifted,” Gupta concluded. “As we get more of the country vaccinated and when cases drop below 10,000 cases per day, at that point the idea you would still be exposed to the virus becomes so low that at that point it’s essentially normal. We don’t need to wear masks anymore.”