Dr. Atul Gawande: ‘The W.H. Is Pushing People to Actually Ignore Public Health Guidelines’
GAWANDE: "Yes. Look, I think you zeroed in on something that's very important. You talked about Florida and the fact that people locked down before the governor was even supporting or backing the idea. They locked down just as well as we locked down in Massachusetts, with all of the orders in place. We are having to learn, despite the fact that leaders at the national level are sending extremely — not just mixed signals, the White House is pushing people to actually ignore public health guidelines and to, you know, flout some of the most important things we can be doing. We don’t talk enough about all of the people who are actually learning to be really wise about moving out into the world. They’re being careful. They are taking these core steps. And we’re not throwing the floodgates open. And this is a critical point. We don’t need everybody to be perfect. One of the models have shown, for example, if we get over 60% of the population to wear masks that are 60% effective, which a double -layer, cotton mask that fits pretty well does, we will shut down the virus. You put these steps together, you get us working together — and, yes, there are going to be people who are going to be not too smart about it. We have to just keep on going. We just keep on going. I think we’ll find we’ll largely be successful. Not smart to be opening up widely when your infection and death rates are climbing, though. In many states, they are heading upward and we want to watch that closely."