There are "so many mixed messages" spreading about where and when to wear masks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines, and President Joe Biden isn't helping clear up the matter, former President Donald Trump's COVID testing czar Dr. Brett Giroir, said Friday.
"The data are really clear, if you are vaccinated and people around you are vaccinated, your chances of dying of COVID are much less than dying of just a car crash, going out in the street, or normal daily activities," said Giroir on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "If you're around vaccinated people, you should not wear a mask. You're very safe. If you are outdoors you can always physically distance and be outdoors without a mask around other people."
Biden, while in Georgia Thursday, was seen on video looking for his mask after speaking at a car rally. Earlier this week, he wore a mask while at Congress for his address, and he also wore one while walking to the podium at an outside event where he was announcing the CDC's new guidelines, but left it off after.
"I think this is very confusing (and) causing people to not have faith in the vaccine, exactly the opposite of what we want," said Giroir.
He added that he thinks the CDC is approaching the issue of masks versus no masks as if there must be "zero risk" of vaccinated people getting sick when there is "no such thing as no risk."
"If you are vaccinated and other people are vaccinated, the chances of getting covid are .008% and chances of dying is .00001%. You are safe. Get the vaccine and go about your daily business," said Giroir.
Meanwhile, the long-term symptoms that are being reported from people who have had COVID-19 are disturbing, said Giroir.
"We know those who have had severe COVID may have complications like strokes, but what we're really seeing now that are a concern is people who have had very mild COVID, even very short symptoms, short duration have had long term complications eight months (later) like fatigue, difficulty breathing, that's in addition to the loss of taste and smell," the doctor said. "This is what we call sort of long COVID. The entire system is looking at this."
He added that as many as 15% of people who had even a mild case of COVID could have long-term symptoms.
To go further with the research, the National Institutes of Health and the CDC must issue a case definititon, said Giroir, but studies are "really clear" by looking at healthcare workers and other groups that about 25% of people will have persistent symptoms and 15% with symptoms longer than 8 months.
"We've had 100 million people having COVID," said Giroir. "We're talking about the potential for 10 or 15 or 20 million people having long-term symptoms over eight months. Now is the time to grapple with that. I don't see the current administration making an effort. This is talk and throwing money at the problem but not an effort to help the people suffering. I want to raise awareness about that."
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