Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, reluctantly provided some mainstream media support Wednesday morning for Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins' much-maligned criticism of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"I used to have the utmost respect for the guidance from the CDC. I always considered the CDC to be the gold standard. I don't anymore," Collins said during Tuesday’s Senate hearing with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Discussing the hearing Wednesday morning with CNN anchors Brianna Keilar and John Berman on "New Day," Gupta admitted that the CDC's mixed messaging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has justifiably raised eyebrows.
It pains me to say this, but I see where she's coming from, Senator Collins, on this. I mean, I think for a long time the concern was the CDC was providing guidance at the beginning of the pandemic that was not scientifically based, and as a result, we didn’t do things that we should have done in this country that could have greatly mitigated what has happened here. And now I think it’s almost a little bit of the reverse problem. The science is not necessarily being followed to the same extent, and as a result we’re probably doing things that we don’t need to be doing.
Gupta went on to criticize the agency for making an overcorrection from supposedly not being strict enough to being so strict that it's no longer accurately following the science, particularly on masking and outdoor transmission.
"In the end, the CDC needs to be just a science-based organization,” he said. "What does the science say? You don’t need to wear a mask outside. It's just one of these things that, again, we’ve known this for some time, we didn't know in the beginning ... Indoor masking. If you’re vaccinated, I don’t think you have to wear a mask indoors either. This is what the science is showing."
The CNN medical correspondent gave the CDC credit for "erring on the side of caution," but stressed that it should still be "very clear on what the science shows."