Even Public Health Experts Are Now Criticizing the CDC For Their Overly Cautious and Restrictive COVID-19 Guidelines

Increasing numbers of public health experts are criticizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their overly cautious COVID-19 guidelines and sluggish reactions to new scientific data.

STAT, a health and medicine news site, has published an article drawing attention to how the CDC has responded far too slowly to a coalescing scientific consensus on certain matters pertaining to COVID-19.

“Most experts interviewed for this story say the agency has struggled to take advantage of the latest scientific findings to communicate as rapidly as possible with the American public,” STAT reporter Nicholas Florko writes. “And when the guidance is issued, it tends to be overly cautious.”

For example, it took the CDC several months to update its guidelines on the disinfection of surfaces. Many scientists have known since the winter—or longer—that surface transmission of COVID-19 is virtually impossible. But the CDC didn’t officially shed its recommendation of rigorous surface cleaning until April.

Then there are the masks. The CDC recently issued guidelines that urged fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks at all indoor public places. They also said that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks outdoors—except in large, crowded settings. These odd, disincentivizing guidelines even prompted left-wing “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah to ask who’s “running messaging at the CDC.”

The CDC is also out of touch vis-à-vis travel. Despite repeated warnings and discouragement from public health authorities, millions of Americans bought plane tickets to go visit their families over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet just one month ago the CDC appeared to continue discouraging people from traveling. Although the agency updated its guidelines to say that “fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky contradicted the guidelines by saying at a press conference that “general travel overall” is still not a great idea.

Scientists had in some cases pressured the CDC for “months” to update their guidelines on these matters—and even then their updates remain too conservative and restrictive. Emory University’s Carlos del Rio and Virginia Tech’s Linsey Marr, for instance, have criticized the CDC’s new mask guidelines as overly timid and confusing.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Dr. Anthony Fauci have also panned the CDC’s summer camp recommendations. The agency said that summer camps can safely reopen as long as everyone—including children and fully vaccinated adults—wears a mask at all times, even outdoors. The only exceptions are for swimming and eating.

Read the rest of STAT’s article here for more reaction.

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