A former commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday described how the CDC’s six-foot social distancing guideline was selected arbitrarily.
Speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation discussing his latest book, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the CDC lacked “rigor” in effecting its policies.
“And you write, the six feet was arbitrary?” asked Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan.
“The six feet was arbitrary in and of itself,” Gottlieb answered.
“But if the administration had focused in on that, they might have been able to effect a policy that would have actually achieved their outcome. But that policy making process didn’t exist, and the six feet is a perfect example of sort of the lack of rigor around how CDC made recommendations.”
Gottlieb went on to explain the CDC’s six-foot distancing guideline was recommended with little to no science behind it.
“Nobody knows where it came from. Most people assume that the six feet of distance, the recommendation for keeping six feet apart, comes out of some old studies related to flu, where droplets don’t travel more than six feet. We now know COVID spreads through aerosols. We’ve known that for a while, so how operative is that?”
He also explained the CDC simply revised its original recommendation of 10-foot social distancing after the Trump White House pushed back, arguing that kind of distancing could shut down society.