WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Joe Biden criticized Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday over their move to end its statewide mask mandate and relax safety restrictions.
- Biden argued that the US could suffer more deaths if people will not follow the COVID-19 guidelines.
- The president made a separate announcement on Tuesday, saying that there would be enough vaccine supplies for every American adult by the end of May.
During a conversation with reporters at the White House on Wednesday, President Joe Biden denounced Texas and Mississippi’s decisions to end their statewide mask mandates and other COVID-19-related restrictions, calling it ”Neanderthal thinking.”
“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody realizes by now that masks make a big difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because the way in which we are able to get vaccines,” Biden told reporters, adding that the “last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off our mask, forget it.”
The president argued that the nation could suffer additional thousands of COVID-19 fatalities if citizens would disregard the recommended precautionary measures such as wearing of face masks and observing social distancing.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on Tuesday that the state would fully reopen 100 percent and will end its statewide mask mandate to address its struggling economy. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) followed suit, declaring that his state would also abolish the mandatory mask-wearing.
Their proclamations came one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning that loosening the restrictive protocols could potentially result in yielding growing new infections.
“It is critical, critical, critical that they follow the science,” Biden said as he cited the Republican governors’ direction to roll back the given restrictions.
White House senior official for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt announced on Wednesday that the Biden administration was “using the absolute full extent of all of the areas where we have federal control” to implement the necessary health guidelines, noting that they were “actively being very, very clear” on the direction they wanted to take.
“We hope that other elected officials who have the authority in their domains will, in fact, listen,” he added.
On Tuesday, Biden said that the country would be able to secure enough COVID-19 vaccines for all American adults by the end of May — which will come from the three authorized drugmakers Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.
The expedited timelines, which were two months earlier than the original schedule, were lauded by the president due to the ongoing leveled-up productions and vaccine distributions.