President Joe Biden snapped back at a reporter who recalled his earlier claim that vaccinated people should no longer need to wear masks — after the CDC modified its guidelines to prove otherwise.
Fox News White House reporter Peter Doocy appeared to frustrate Biden on Thursday when he pointed out that the president said in May, “Once you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask anymore.”
It came at the end of a White House speech in which Biden announced a series of new measures aimed at increasing vaccination rates across the country, urging Americans to get their shots and follow the government’s evolving guidelines for masks. follow.
Doocy started his whistle just as Biden left the stage and was about to walk out of the East Room and said, “In May you made it sound like the vaccine was the ticket to losing the mask forever.”
Biden turned to reporters again and replied, “No, I didn’t say that. I said if you’re fully vaccinated in an area where you don’t – well let me clarify, that was true then.
“I thought people would understand that getting vaccinated made a huge difference, and what happened was a new strain came out, they weren’t vaccinated, it spread faster and more people get sick. That is the difference.’
President Biden and Fox News reporter Peter Doocy spar at the end of a speech calling for more people to get vaccinated
Just as Biden walked off the podium, Doocy told the president he had said in May, “Once you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask anymore.”
On Tuesday, the CDC reversed its mask guidelines and made them mandatory for those fully vaccinated in areas with a high infection rate.
“This is not a decision the CDC has taken lightly… this weighs heavily on me and all of America,” Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said at a news conference.
She also warned that with rampant spread, only a few mutations are needed for the virus to completely bypass vaccines.
During Thursday’s speech at the White House, Biden publicly supported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines on mask requirements.
The CDC urges fully vaccinated individuals to “wear a mask in indoor public settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”
“When you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask anymore,” Biden said on May 13, encouraging more Americans to get vaccinated. “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do,” the president had touted
“What happened is a new variant came out, they weren’t vaccinated, it spread faster and more people got sick,” Biden explained to Doocy before walking away.
Earlier in his speech, Biden said “with incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save many lives.”
Asked about doing even more to get people vaccinated through mandates from states, municipalities and corporations, Biden said he wants them to “keep moving in that direction.”
Nor did he rule out the idea of a national mandate, though he would not vouch for authority. “It remains to be seen whether the federal government can mandate the entire country. I do not know yet.’
Biden called the situation an “unvaccinated pandemic.”
“In fact, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated,” Biden said.
“This is an American tragedy. People die and will die who don’t have to die,” he said.
He called on Americans to ‘get the job done’, with ‘science, with facts, with the truth’.
The president also called on people to embrace the latest CDC guidelines about wearing masks.
“I hope that all Americans living in areas with substantial or high cases will follow the mask guidelines set by the CDC. I certainly will, because this is one of those areas in Washington,” he said.
In the past month, the average number of new daily cases across the country rose by 376 percent, from 11,887 on June 26 to 56,635 on July 26.
Currently, about 56 percent of Americans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and half of the country is fully vaccinated.
That means more than 40 percent of Americans and 30 percent of adults have not been vaccinated at all.
Biden has expressed frustration at people’s refusal to get a COVID vaccine.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were,” he said Tuesday.
And the change in the way the administration is handling the pandemic is going to be remarkable.
Three months ago, Biden stated in the White House Rose Garden, “Once you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask anymore. It’s been vaxxed or masked.’
On July 4, the president declared the country’s “independence” from the virus when he hosted a huge party on the South Lawn of the White House.
But rising COVID cases due to the Delta variant and the refusal of much of the population to be vaccinated have reversed the administration’s strategy.