On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance on mask-wearing, advising that Americans who are fully vaccinated may now exercise and attend small outdoor gatherings without a mask.
It's too little, too late, argues Stanford University Professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya. The public health agency's hypervigilant coronavirus response over the past 12-14 months has paved the way for what he calls "the institutionalization of hypochondria" among the American public
"This sort of order should have come long ago," said Bhattacharya during an interview on "Just the News AM." "I think they're being entirely too cautious by saying, 'Okay, only if you're vaccinated ... People who have had the disease before are also immune. Why shouldn't they be 'allowed' to not wear masks?"
There has been "very little evidence of outdoor transmission of the disease to begin with," added Bhattacharya, coauthor of the Great Barrington Declaration, a manifesto that urges an alternative COVID-19 strategy focused on protecting those at greatest risk while minimizing disruption and damage to the larger society. The statement has been signed by close to 14,000 medical and public health scientists.
"[P]ublic health authorities, including the CDC have generated an enormous amount of fear and panic around the disease," says Bhattacharya.
On Tuesday, President Biden, who has been fully vaccinated for many months, wore a mask outside as he walked to the podium to address the press regarding the CDC's newest guidance. Last week, Biden wore a mask during a virtual climate summit with other world leaders.
Calling masks "a palpable symbol of panic and fear," Bhattacharya said Biden’s use of a mask in public "even though he has been vaccinated and is immune, sends the entirely wrong signal about the efficacy of vaccination and a whole host of other things."
"We basically have said, look at disease avoidance as the central problem in your life, no matter who you are," he explained. "It's not taking care of your kids. It's not practicing your faith. It's not doing doing as well as you can in your in your profession. None of that is as important as avoiding disease. And I think it's going to be very difficult to undo that."