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Gottlieb: CDC should be evaluating COVID-19 variants instead of 'arbitrating' distancing

Gottlieb: CDC should be evaluating COVID-19 variants instead of 'arbitrating' distancing
© screenshot @squawkCNBC

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Friday said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be making more of an effort to evaluate new variants of COVID-19 instead of mandating rules for social distancing.

Gottlieb's remarks came during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" after being asked about the data on vaccines offering protections from new coronavirus strains.

"This is what the CDC should be doing, not still arbitrating 3 feet versus 6 feet a year later," he said. "We should be on top of these new variants, evaluating what their clinical course is. We shouldn't have to wait months to get this information."

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Gottlieb said there are still some unknown aspects when it comes to the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines when it comes to the new variants.

"We don't know that these variants affect the vaccine's effectiveness that much at all," he said. "We don't fully understand that."

Gottlieb, who served as FDA commissioner during much of the Trump administration, went on to say that more information on the effectiveness of vaccines when it comes to variants should be available when more Americans are vaccinated.

"I think in a month things are going to look very different," Gottlieb told CNBC host Joe Kernen.

"We haven't seen evidence on a wholesale basis of reinfections or people getting infected after they've been fully vaccinated," he said. "But we don't know, and the reality is that we should know."