The city of Philadelphia is reimposing its indoor mask mandates because of the latest highly contagious variant of COVID-19, but former Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner Peter Pitts told Newsmax he believes some leaders have a form of "mask PTSD" when it comes to keeping people's faces covered.
"I think there are a lot of civic leaders out there with kind of a mask PTSD, where there they want to put their masks back," Pitts, now the president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told Tuesday's "Wake Up America." "They're comfortable. They feel that it is a virtue signal relative to their awareness of science."
However, leaders need to also agree with science "even when you don't agree with it personally," Pitts said.
His comments come after Dr. Anthony Fauci said this past weekend that COVID-19 will not be either eradicated or eliminated and people will have to "make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions."
"Dr. Fauci was talking about individualized risk, which is fancy jargon for personal responsibility, and it means that individual citizens need to take the precautions they feel are most necessary for them, while also keeping in mind that we're responsible for each other."
Fauci's words also mean COVID-19 is switching from a pandemic to an endemic, according to Pitts.
"You don't want to stretch the analogy too far, but it's kind of like saying you don't want to lock down the U. S and close schools for sniffles," he added. "With the current very infectious variant of COVID-19 symptoms, they are mild and they pass quickly."
He also pointed out there has not been a rise in deaths with the new variant, even though, for the most part, the people who have serious issues are those who are at high risk or who have not been vaccinated.
Pitts also insisted strong lockdown policies do not work, pointing to Shanghai where the lockdowns are causing serious problems for the residents, including the inability to get food or supplies.
"The other issue is, once people take their masks off, it's going to be awfully hard to get them to put them back on, especially when the science doesn't say you can do that," he said. "The CDC hasn't changed there. If you're still in a green zone, you can still go out without your mask. Philadelphia is an outlier here, and people need to recognize that."
He also said, in assessing individualized risk, as Fauci suggested, that does not mean people must be forced to take steps to make other people feel better.
However, he said he does think a push should be made to try to get the 30% of Americans who have not gotten vaccinated to get their shots, but mask mandates are "counterproductive" to that happening.
Pitts also agreed with the show that it is "hypocrisy" to roll back the use of Title 42 at the border and allow potentially ill immigrants to enter the country, while mask mandates are still being enacted in the United States on planes.
"Airports and airplanes have the best air filtration systems," he said. "Where is the science here? Why aren't we doing what the science says? Officials are skittish and that's OK, but they ultimately have to do the right thing. They've got to follow the science."
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