After being elected following a campaign in which President Joe Biden vowed to follow the science in determining mask mandates and other COVID-related policies, the president is changing his tune.
The most recent guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control said vaccinated adults can go outside without masks in most settings. The guidance also said vaccinated individuals “can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart.”
But in an interview with “Today” released Friday, Biden seemed to ignore that guidance.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 30, 2021
The president said he will continue to wear a mask outside, as well as in the presence of other vaccinated individuals.
“The likelihood of my being able to be outside and people not come up to me is not very, very high,” he claimed.
Biden also noted he and interviewer Craig Melvin, both of whom are vaccinated, maintained distance during their indoor interview and would don masks should they close the gap between them.
“Look, you and I took our masks off when I came in, because look at the distance we are. But if we were in fact sitting there talking to one another close, I’d have my mask on, and I imagine you’d have a mask even though we’ve both been vaccinated,” Biden said.
“And so it’s, it’s just a small precaution to take that has a profound impact. It’s a patriotic responsibility for God’s sake.”
National Review Online Editor Philip Klein pushed back against Biden’s claims, and said the president’s actions are actually “reckless.”
“This has absolutely no basis in science. Vaccines are highly effective and studies have suggested that they not only prevent infection, but transmission. Outdoor transmission is also extremely low risk. There is no reason to believe a vaccinated person cannot be near another vaccinated person indoors, let alone, near another person outdoors,” Klein said.
“We’re entering a stage in which vaccine demand is a bigger concern than supply. The best way of convincing hesitant Americans to get vaccinated is to demonstrate that once vaccinated, they can live their normal lives. By communicating that being vaccinated makes no difference in anybody’s ability to go back to normal, Biden is acting recklessly.”
Thiessen dismissed the mask and social distancing rules on display at Biden’s speech to Congress Wednesday as “pandemic political theater designed to justify a miasma of government spending.”
Thiessen noted the speech was a missed opportunity.
“By filling the House chamber with vaccinated people, Biden could have sent a message to millions of Americans who tuned in to watch: The vaccines work. Because we are vaccinated, we are having a normal joint session of Congress. And if you get vaccinated, your lives can return to normal again, too,” he wrote.
But that would work against the real message, Thiessen said.
“Why didn’t Biden listen to his own public health officials? Why didn’t he follow the science? Simple. To have a normal address would have signaled that a return to normalcy is at hand — that the coronavirus crisis is reaching its end,” he explained.
“But Democrats need the crisis as a pretext for all the government spending Biden outlined Wednesday night.”
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