A former Obama health policy director on Monday criticized what she sees as a potentially dangerous change in government messaging on Covid safety protocols.
“My biggest problem with the it’s-your-call kind of theme that’s out there [is] we do not do this in any other area of sickness, health, disease or burden. I don’t tell a patient with high LDL cholesterol, ‘Hey, find out what your 10-year cardiovascular risk is and you can decide,'” Dr. Kavita Patel said on the CNBC show.squawk box.”
“Of course, they can decide what your options are after I talk to them about what I think is best,” added Patel, a primary care physician in the Washington, DC area.
Patel’s comments come after a report in The Wall Street Journal that characterized a new emphasis by federal and local health officials on personal choice when it comes to receiving booster shots, masking or following other Covid mitigation measures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were not immediately available for comment on Patel’s comments.
The White House released a new plan to address the pandemic in March, highlighting four key areas where the Biden administration hopes to secure funding. White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “we’re going to have to pay close attention” to the rise in cases of the omicron subvariant BA.2. Congress did not renew federal emergency aid for some pandemic programs.
Patel said that health officials essentially giving Americans autonomy over Covid decisions is sure to cause confusion.
“It seems like a very poor way for a country that has been told for two years, ‘This is what you should do, this is how you should do it,’ and now we do what we tell people to go to. covid.gov and cross your fingers and hope they can browse the site and get treatment?” he said.
“I think unfortunately this will affect us again, because we’re not necessarily doing the kinds of things that we should be doing,” Patel concluded.