According to Scott Gobblieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, the six-foot distancing requirement was “arbitrary in and of itself” and that nobody knows where it came from. He said the rule is the “perfect example” of the lack of rigor around Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommendations, adding that it’s the single reason why most schools remained shut. He said they may never find the origins of COVID-19 but hints that some of the recommendations have been manipulated without reason.
Gottlieb was on CBS’s Face The Nation talking about his new book, “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic,” where he notes that the six-foot distancing rule came out of some old studies related to the flu. The study points out how droplets don’t travel more than six feet and that COVID-19 spreads through aerosols. He asked how those guidelines are “operative” if we’ve known this information for a while now and pointed to the public’s diminished trust in the experts. He adds that the public health establishment has taken a hit “as a whole” and that it’s not only related to a “Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, thing.”
Gottlieb even points out that a lot more schools would be open right now if the Biden Administration and CDC changed the guidance from six feet to three feet. He said the CDC’s initial recommendation was 10 feet but that a political appointee from the White House argued that they can’t recommend that. They said society would be inoperable and ultimately shut down with a ten-foot distancing recommendation, which led to the compromise of a six-foot recommendation.
“Now imagine if that detail had leaked out. Everyone would have said, ‘This is the White House politically interfering with the CDC’s judgment.’ The CDC said 10 feet, it should be 10 feet, but 10 feet was no more right than six feet and ultimately became three feet,” Gottlieb said.
He pointed out the good work of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who kept schools open and ignored the six-feet distancing recommendations, adding that he was protecting the right of every parent to make health decisions for their kids.
Gottlieb adds that it was the single “costliest” recommendation the CDC made and that it wasn’t based on any good judgment or science. He said it did nothing but decrease the public’s confidence in the pandemic response. He left the FDA in 2019 right before the pandemic and was not in office for the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response.
Gottlieb went on to criticize the CDC for being a high-science organization that was completely unprepared for handling the response to a pandemic. He pointed out the fact that the agency waited until March 2021 to halve its recommended distance between children in school to the three-feet recommendation.
Gottlieb has been a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic but notes that the guideline only changed to three feet this spring due to added pressure. He said Trump was initially determined about making the decisions to stop the spread. But the more that Gottlieb reveals about the CDC’s recommendations, the more you know it is about pulling the right political strings. No idea what they’re doing and just making it up as they go along. From March 2020 to now.