CSIS  |  April 29, 2022

Dr. Larry Gostin is a professor of global health law and the faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Dr. Gostin joins Steve Morrison and Andrew Schwartz for this 134th episode in the aftermath of the April 18 nationwide injunction to block government mask mandates on public transportation. In Judge Mizelle’s opinion, the C.D.C. has exceeded its legal authority. But if the C.D.C. doesn’t have the power to make someone do something as unintrusive as wearing a mask, what can it do? If this ruling stands, it changes the role of the government, and our regulatory institutions will lose the power to protect us. The C.D.C. has been in a weakened position since the Trump administration but is staffed by strong scientists who want to do their best for Americans. Dr. Gostin argues for a High-Level Commission to take a top-down and bottom-up review of the C.D.C. to determine what systems, data, scientists, funding CDC needs, and what powers are legitimate. He does have hope: the U.S. is approaching higher levels of immunity, and the darkest days of the pandemic may be behind us.

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