Masks are BACK at the White House: Kamala tells guests to wear face coverings as CDC issues guidelines
White House officials told guests to wear masks on Tuesday, minutes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccinated Americans use face masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 was spreading rapidly.
Reporters covering an event with Vice President Kamala Harris were given masks and had to cover them up before entering her ceremonial office, according to those in attendance.
The measures illustrate the growing concern among officials about how the rapidly spreading Delta variant is undoing progress in fighting the pandemic.
Earlier, President Biden said he is “considering” mandatory vaccines for all federal employees.
Harris wore a mask during a meeting with Native American community leaders, then made a plea to the public.
“None of us like to wear masks,” she said.
‘People should be vaccinated. People should be vaccinated.
“It will save their lives. This virus is no joke.’
Vice President Kamala Harris and Native American community leaders disguised for their meeting at the vice president’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex after the CDC issued new guidelines on face coverings
Reporters covering voting rights were told to wear a mask before entering the vice president’s ceremonial office. Staff distributed masks to anyone who arrived without a face coveringbedekking
Fin Gomez, a journalist at CBS News and board member of the White House Correspondents Association, is replacing signs telling reporters that only unvaccinated people should wear masks with those saying everyone should cover up before entering the James Brady Briefing Room
The signs were removed in May when the CDC relaxed its guidelines and said fully vaccinated people should no longer wear masks indoors.
The Delta variant is blamed for the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the US, leading to a series of new measures to stop its spread
President Biden Promised a ‘Summer of Freedom’, But Numbers Continue to Rise
Afterward, a White House official explained the policy, “We are following CDC guidelines and this afternoon Washington, DC was classified as having a substantial level of community transfer.”
The number of coronavirus cases is on the rise because of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India but now accounts for about 80 percent of U.S. infections.
In a policy reversal, the new CDC guideline recommends that even vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public areas in regions with “significant” transmission — defined as more than 50 cases per 100,000 people.
It said 63.4 percent of counties now had levels high enough to warrant indoor masking — including Washington, DC, where the rate is 52 cases per 100,000.
The result was swift at the White House.
Signs were hung in the briefing room, where they were removed in May after the CDC relaxed the rules.
“Mask Required: According to CDC guidelines, masks must be worn in crowded indoor areas and in areas with significant spread of COVID-19 in the community, regardless of vaccination status,” the White House Correspondents Association sign said.
Earlier on Capitol Hill, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer wore a mask as he said he waited for CDC guidance.
Biden released a statement saying he would outline the “next steps” to get more Americans vaccinated on Thursday.
“By following the science and doing our part by getting us vaccinated, America can beat COVID,” he said.
“In the meantime, more vaccinations and masking in the areas most affected by the Delta variant will allow us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures and disruptions we faced in 2020.”
President Biden said Tuesday he was considering a vaccine mandate for federal staff and said vaccinations and masks were one way to avoid a return to last year’s lockdowns.
The White House has been regularly criticized for the way guidance and recommendations have gone one way than the other.
For example, prominent officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci initially asked the public not to wear masks, before returning last year.
During a visit to the office of the National Director of Intelligence, Biden was asked if the changes were causing confusion.
He said the problem lay with people who had not been vaccinated.
“The more we learn about this virus and its Delta variant, the more we should be concerned and concerned,” he said.
“And the only thing we know for sure is that if those other 100 million people were vaccinated, we’d be in a very different world.”
Officials have repeatedly said the country was in the throes of an “unvaccinated pandemic.”