Kamala Harris slammed as she causes confusion over mask mandate after demanding reporters cover faces
KAMALA Harris was criticized for sending mixed messages about the mask mandate after demanding reporters cover their faces at the White House.
Harris ordered journalists to mask up on Tuesday an hour after the CDC said vaccinated Americans will have to wear face coverings again in some parts of the US due to the new Delta variant.
No mask mandate is in effect in Washington DC because there is still only a “moderate” rate of transmission as of Wednesday, July 28, according to the agency's data tracker.
However, the vice president was adamant that reporters – who were reportedly all tested – should wear a face covering at the voting rights event she headed alongside Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
“No one likes wearing masks," Harris told attendees. "People need to get vaccinated. That’s the only way we’re going to cut this off. Nobody likes wearing a mask."
The White House correspondents and leaders from the Alaska Native and American Indian communities were pictured donning masks as they sat at the table with Harris.
'TRENDS ACROSS THE NATION'
In the wake of the CDC's updated guidance, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of DC Health, released a statement noting that the city was "reviewing the updated CDC guidance related to mask-wearing."
"Similar to trends across the nation, the District of Columbia has experienced a four-fold increase in its daily case rate since the beginning of July,” Nesbitt said.
“DC’s transmission increase is driven primarily by unvaccinated individuals.
"We know that Covid-19 vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Covid-19 vaccines remain highly effective in preventing COvid-19 disease, hospitalizations, and death.”
"Wearing a mask in indoor public settings provides an additional layer of protection for those who are fully vaccinated — and continues to be one of the key ways to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, namely young children.”
Yet, the CDC is also being slammed for its mixed messaging when – like DC – most of the Northeast, upper Midwest, and West, have only “moderate” or “low” transmission.
This would mean vaccinated people in these areas can go about their business without wearing a mask, noted the New York Times' The Morning newsletter on Wednesday.
The Chief Health Officer of Indiana University Dr. Aaron Carroll said the mask mandate wouldn't be effective, noting that "leaning heavily on masking and distancing is what we did when we didn’t have vaccinations."
“Today, such recommendations are less likely to succeed because they are more likely to be followed by those already primed to listen — the vaccinated — and to be fought and ignored by those who aren’t," he said.
Reports indicate that CDC's garbled message isn't helping considering how polarized the country is and didn't specify which “high transmission” areas would be affected.
President Joe Biden also referenced these (unnamed) “areas covered by the C.D.C. guidance" and an email was sent to White House staffers telling them to mask up, citing DC being a “substantial” transmission area.
However, the CDC categorized the city as "moderate" yesterday and today.
After urging Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine yesterday, Dr Rochelle Walensky said "in areas with substantial and high transmissions" should wear masks indoors, whether they're vaccinated or not.
It was not clear whether all Americans should change their behavior when it comes to masks
This includes when individuals are inside of schools, she confirmed.
Biden said his administration was considering whether to make vaccinated federal employees wear masks, telling reporters: “That’s under consideration right now."
Back in May, they confirmed that people who had received both doses of the vaccine would not have to wear a mask or social distance.
At the time, Walensky confirmed this was based on declining infections, the swift vaccine rollout, as well as efficacy against Covid-19 variants.
However, even people who were fully jabbed had to continue planes and trains, at airports, on mass transit, and in medical environments like hospitals.
On Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN health officials were considering revised mask guidance.
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