Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, says he has been going to stores "properly masked"—but he considers indoor dining too risky during the pandemic. "I will not eat indoors in a restaurant," Gottlieb told CNBC Monday when asked if he thinks restaurants are riskier than big-box stores. "I’ve been eating outdoors since the summertime and wouldn’t eat indoors in a restaurant. I think the risk is too high to be in a confined space without a mask on with other people eating in that same location right now." He said that despite steps restaurants have taken to protect diners, "people who eat indoors are talking loudly in many cases, and again you’re not wearing a mask. You’re in a confined space."
On Sunday, Gottlieb predicted that the US could reach close to 4,000 COVID deaths per day in January before things improve, CBS reports. "There's a grim future right now ahead of us in the next six weeks," he told Face the Nation. "People really need to protect themselves." Gottlieb, who joined Pfizer's board of directors after leaving the FDA last year, said there are "sound reasons" why the agency is taking longer to approve Pfizer's vaccine than authorities in Britain did. "They wanted to provide a greater degree of public assurance, and also get a better look at the data," he said. "But it did delay this by a couple of weeks at least. So we just have to accept that." (More coronavirus stories.)