The United States might need to change its guidance toward masking now that there’s so much immunity to the coronavirus, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

What he said: “We have a much more contagious variant that is probably going to continue to circulate and you have a population that has much more immunity,” he told CNBC.

  • “We’re going to probably have to tolerate, and probably should, a higher level of baseline spread at the point at which we consider withdrawing some of this mitigation,” he added.

Masks and schools: Gottlieb said the country shouldn’t wait for the CDC to reach low prevalence of COVID-19 — about 10 cases per 100,000 people per day — to end the mask mandates in school.

  • “If we hold out, again, if we wait for 10 cases per 100,000 per day in most communities, we’re probably going to be waiting until the summer; we’re going to lose the opportunity this spring to try to return some sense of normalcy in the schools.”

What to look for: Gottlieb told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier this week that COVID-19 case numbers are “going to continue to come down as we get into the spring and the summer.”

  • The U.S. will need to consider changing restrictions when that happens.
  • “Hopefully this spring,” people can return to their normal lives, he said.
  • “We don’t see anything on the horizon that’s going to dramatically alter that trajectory.”

Yes, but: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, has been adamant that the coronavirus pandemic won’t end when the world is still facing continued to spread.

  • “There are different scenarios for how the pandemic could play out and how the acute phase could end. But it’s dangerous to assume that omicron will be the last variant or that we are in the endgame,” he added.
  • “On the contrary, globally, the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge.”