Tuesday, Biden’s White House struggled to explain why the Centers for Disease Control would announce new masking policies, despite their ever-present faith in coronavirus vaccines.
“I know this is slightly awkward timing,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged at the beginning of the daily press briefing. The CDC scheduled a briefing on their new mask guidance for later in the afternoon.
Psaki repeated through the briefing that the administration continues to battle the coronavirus, despite President Biden’s positive rhetoric of his success in handling the pandemic.
“We’re still in the midst of a once in a generation pandemic, battling an ever-evolving virus,” she said.
The Biden White House could not explain the renewed guidance to the public even though they are dependant on the CDC.
“We will of course be abiding by every aspect of the CDC guidelines on masking that they will provide this afternoon,” she said.
Psaki cited case reports in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Colorado as she pulled an infographic while she claimed: “virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people.”
Psaki struggled to explain why vaccinated Americans would need to wear masks in public again if the vaccines were effective.
“Because public health leaders in our administration have made the determination, based on data, that that is a way to make sure they’re protected, their loved ones are protected, and that’s an extra step, given the transmissibility of the virus … that they’re advising people to take,” she replied.
Psaki reminded reporters the plan was always to follow the science, the data, and public officials on how to handle the pandemic many times.
“Their job is to look at evolving information, evolving data, an evolving historic pandemic, and provide guidance to the American public,” she said, referring to the CDC.
Americans should continue to trust the administration’s guidance on the vaccines, mask mandates, health experts, and other coronavirus information.
“Our responsibility here is to always lead with the science and always leave with the advice of health and medical experts,” she said. “And we’re going to continue to provide information to all of you about how to protect yourself and save your lives.”
Psaki was unable to explain why it took so long for the CDC to update the guidance; instead, she punted the CDC’s answer.
“Our guidance is based on the public health experts and what they are advising in terms of steps that should be taken,” she said.
She also defended Biden’s claims of beating the coronavirus in recent weeks before the Delta variant infecting more.
“The reality is we’re dealing with a much different strain of this virus than we were even earlier in the spring,” she said, noting that Biden was referring to “a different strain of the virus” when he was optimistic.