Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), admitted during an interview on Face the Nation that the six foot social distancing rule recommended by public health officials for months on end was actually “arbitrary in and of itself,” and he noted that “nobody knows where it came from.”
Speaking with Face the Nation’s Margaret Brennan, Gottlieb discussed the rules and risks early in the pandemic, explaining that the Trump administration shifted its focus to the impact lockdowns and rules would have on the economy and children.
“My view is that they were sold on the idea that you weren’t going to be able to really affect the spread and that anything you did was just going to have so many repercussions in terms of impact on children who might not be in school. Impact on the economy, that the costs were worse than the disease,” he said, explaining that schools were a “perfect example of the lack of effective policymaking.”
Students waking in the hallway at Tibbals Elementary School place their arms in front as a reminder to socially distance in Murphy, Texas, December 3, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
“So the single reason why most schools remained shut was because the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was telling them they had to keep kids six feet apart,” he said. “If- if CDC has said you can only- you have to keep kids three feet apart, then a lot of schools would have been able open.”
“And in fact, when the Biden administration wanted to open schools in the spring, this past spring, they got the CDC to change that guidance from six feet to three feet,” Gottlieb continued, admitting the original guidance was “arbitrary” and had unknown origins.