President Biden held a sparsely held outdoor press event Tuesday to rave about the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines released Tuesday that announced fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a face mask outside and in small gatherings.
Walking up to the presidential podium on the North Lawn, Biden donned a black face mask to announce the new guidance that trails behind common sense and reality with the easing of outdoor face mask restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated, including himself.
“Starting today, if you’re fully vaccinated and you’re outdoors, you need — and not in a big crowd — you no longer need to wear a mask,” Biden said.
Biden described the progress as “stunning” while touting the loosening guidelines, arguing the relaxed restrictions on face masks was an incentive as “another reason to go get vaccinated now.”
“The bottom line is clear, if you’re vaccinated, you can do more things more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors. So, for those who haven’t gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you’re younger or thinking you don’t need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated,” Biden said.
Some people saw the jumbled message as confusing and unnecessary with Biden walking out to give remarks outside with no crowd but still continues to wear a facial coverage while urging Americans to get inoculated.
The CDC issued the long-awaited updated recommendations in loosening mask requirements, saying that only fully vaccinated people can forgo the face mask and can gather in small outdoor gatherings, even if there is a mixture of some who aren’t vaccinated, and can dine outdoors. Unvaccinated people can also partake in outdoor activities like running, hiking, or biking unmasked, either alone or with members of their household, and in small outdoor gatherings. However, the agency limits certain situations, warning that until the majority of people were vaccinated, it was unsafe to attend large crowded outdoor events without a mask.
“The release of these new guidelines is a first step at helping fully vaccinated Americans resume what they had stopped doing because of the pandemic, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others,” the CDC said.
However, the CDC emphasized that it’s ultimately up to individuals to consider their own personal wellbeing and the risk they might pose to themselves, their family, and community before heading outside without a face mask, a choice frequently infringed by Democratic lawmakers in deciding how Americans should live throughout the pandemic.
While almost every state during the peak months of the pandemic imposed some sort of public mask mandate, some states, mostly Democratic-run went a step further in forcing residents to wear a mask both outdoors, and indoors. The CDC stopped short in calling out those states to end these strict mandates but after the CDC’s announcement, Maine and Massachusetts followed the footsteps of Florida and Texas, the first two states who lifted their statewide mask mandates to remove entirely the mandate imposed on wearing mask outdoors.
Red states that have lifted mask mandates last month, like Florida have reported fewer new cases compared to those from blue states that have imposed statewide strict mask mandates order, such as New York, California, and Michigan.
After the brief five-minute remark, Biden was asked by an NBC reporter what kind of message is he sending by continuing wearing his mask outdoors despite being vaccinated.
“By watching me take it off and not put it back on until I get inside,” Biden chuckled in response.
After the president remarks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed during the daily White House press briefings to elaborate more on whether Biden would continue on with the mask theater by now appearing at events without a facial cover.
“He’ll be following public health guidelines,” Psaki said. “So I think you saw him outside today: He took the mask off, he didn’t put the mask back on. It will take some time for all of us to adjust, and I know when I take my kids to the playground this weekend, I’ll be happy not to be wearing a mask.”
The press secretary noted that Biden administration officials will however continue to follow the CDC recommendations on wearing facial coverings indoors until they update the guidelines on them.
Biden was fully vaccinated before taking office in January, and the vast majority of White House staff have been vaccinated in the following weeks. However, Biden since taking office has been seen most of the time wearing a mask, taking it off when delivering remarks from a podium.
Last week during a virtual climate change summit with world leaders, Biden was the only leader who donned a mask in the zoom call. Republicans slammed Biden for making a theater show by overwearing a facial cover and making himself a laughing stock to the world.
Pres. Biden masks up for a video call to discuss climate change with world leaders
He appears to be the only one wearing a mask pic.twitter.com/TGGuM7BW0x
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 23, 2021
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) shared vague praise for the agency finally approving a measure Americans have already been doing for months regarding the mask announcement.
“I’m glad the CDC finally acknowledged what has been obvious for a long time, which is that wearing a mask outside is silly and not remotely justified by the science,” Cruz said. “Too often the CDC, especially under the Biden administration, has been driven by politics and not science.”