Dr. Peter Pitts to Newsmax: 'Bad Politics, Bad Science' to Bring Back Masks Dr. Anthony Fauci's call has always been to follow the science, but a critic said "science changes," (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 25 April 2022 09:33 AM
Work must continue for people to get COVID-19 vaccinations, but it's time to remove masks, former FDA associate commissioner Peter Pitts, now the president of the Center For Medicine in the Public Interest, said on Newsmax on Monday.
"We need to take important precautions to talk to 30% of Americans who have not yet been fully vaccinated, but telling people to put their masks back on is not only bad politics, but it's bad science," Pitts said in a Newsmax "Wake Up America" interview while responding to comments Dr. Anthony Fauci made after a Florida judge lifted the mask mandate for public transportation last week.
Fauci, chief medical advisor for the White House, said last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is better equipped to make public health decisions than U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizelle, the judge who lifted the mandate.
"Well, welcome to democracy," Pitts told Newsmax. "That's how the American government works."
He said that at this point of the pandemic, the "wrong things" are being measured, and the rules that applied two years ago might be obsolete.
"Back in the teeth of the pandemic two years ago, when infection rates went up, death rates went up and hospitalization rates went up," Pitts said. "We were in a bad place."
But now "we're dealing with a different COVID," he said. "Now the symptoms are milder. The duration is shorter, and even though infection rates are going up, that is not a good thing, [but] death rates, hospitalizations, serious manifestations are going way, way down. We have to start measuring new things to recognize we're not in a public health emergency anymore."
In New York City, there is still talk about firing unvaccinated police officers, noted show host Tom Basile. Pitts said that's the "wrong way to go."
"We've got to figure out that we want to bring our society back together," Pitts said. "It seems to me that a lot of Americans have sort of figured out or at least they feel that the CDC and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) have a tremendous amount of power in this country, and nobody elected any of those folks at the public health complex."
Fauci's call has always been to follow the science, but Pitts said "science changes," and that Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is considered by many to be the nation's top infectious disease specialist, needs to "stop being the spokesperson" about COVID.
"The people in our country have stopped listening to Tony Fauci," Pitts said. "If you're not vaccinated, you clearly don't trust him or like him. It's time to replace him with somebody else. You can't allow unelected public health career officials to tell you what to do. They've got to be part of the process, but they can't lead the process. That's why we have political leaders that we elect."
New COVID variants are popping up, and Pitts said the U.S. is in an endemic, not a pandemic.
"It means that COVID-19 has been with us for a long time, just like the annual flu," he said. "We're going to be able to treat it annually just like we do the annual flu deaths."
If the nation continues to think about COVID as a pandemic and as a death threat, "we can't move forward," Pitts said. "We're scaring ourselves. We're winning; we've got to pat ourselves on the back and, as one of our rewards, take our masks off."
Pitts said that with children, "our little virus incubators," parents "probably should" get them vaccinated, but the danger moving forward with wearing masks is that it has become "kind of a safety theater…if we stick with the science, we're in a better place."
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