Former FDA chief: No one knows where six-foot social distancing requirement came from

Former FDA chief: No one knows where six-foot social distancing requirement came from

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb claims “no one knows” where the six-foot-tall recommendation for social distancing came from.

Gottlieb admitted in an interview with CBS’ Face The Nation that the rule was arbitrary and not necessarily based on current science.

“No one knows where it comes from. Most people assume that the two-meter distance, the recommendation to keep two meters apart, stems from some old studies related to flu, where droplets cannot travel more than two meters,” he said.

Gottlieb indicates that the initial recommendation was 3 meters, but ended up being 3 meters based on an actual study.

“When it got to three feet, the basis for the CDC’s decision to eventually rev it from six to three feet was a study they conducted last fall,” he explained. “So they changed it in the spring.”

Gottlieb served as FDA Commissioner from 2017 to April 2019.

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Six feet of social distancing was arbitrary

Gottlieb says it was the Biden administration that requested the recommendation to lower social distancing by two meters in an effort to keep schools open.

The former FDA chief noted the initial 10-foot recommendation and pointed out how the media would have been apoplectic if the former president had attempted the same.

“So the compromise was about six feet. Now imagine if that detail had leaked out. Anyone would have said, ‘This is the White House politically interfering in the CDC’s judgment,'” he explained.

Gottlieb added, “The CDC said 10 feet, it should be 10 feet, but 10 feet was no more than six feet and ended up being three feet.”

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dr. Fauci says teachers should still keep their distance

dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, argued in March that the six-foot social distancing still applied to teachers in the classroom.

“So now, as long as they continue to wear masks, children will be three feet in school,” he explained at the time.

“That doesn’t mean from the teachers because they still have to be two meters from the teachers and the teachers still have to be two meters from each other,” Fauci added. “But the children, one meter away from each other, will be fine from now on.”


Fauci has said he argued with former President Trump about enforcing social distancing rules early in the pandemic.

“We have argued strongly with the president not to withdraw it” [social-distancing] guidelines after 15 days, but that he extended them — and he listened,” Fauci said.

Trump dropped the social distancing recommendations shortly afterwards.

Left-wing media criticized President Trump for ignoring social distancing recommendations.

A column in Slate last August accused Trump of allowing thousands of Americans to be killed by failing to follow such guidelines.

“The president’s most decisive contribution to the death toll has been his opposition to public health measures known as ‘mitigation’: social distancing, school and workplace closures, and cancellations of large gatherings,” they wrote.

Multiple outlets tried to solve the mystery of where the directive came from last year.

Business Insider notes that the six-foot guideline comes from a study that is now 80 years old.

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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