“Our guidance has consistently been this: When you are in a high-transmission area, which is everywhere in the country, you should wear a mask in indoor settings, including schools,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday during the daily briefing.
She also recognized that several Democrat states had lifted masking requirements, but urged Americans to keep wearing masks anyway.
“Certainly, we continue to advise and recommend abiding by public health guidelines,” Psaki said.
Washington state and Rhode Island announced Wednesday plans to lift some mask mandates, joining Illinois and New York who also announced plans to lift some mandates.
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Psaki cited guidance from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky earlier in the day, expressing the importance of continued masking, She acknowledged that Americans might be confused by the conflicting advice, but reasserted the Biden administration’s desire for continued masking.
“I think we should do everything we can to prevent them from being confused, so I’m restating what our policy is here, from the federal government, which is based on public health guidelines,” she concluded.
Recent polling shows that Americans are increasingly ready to shed coronavirus restrictions and return to normal life.
But Psaki argued that even though people appeared to be tired of wearing masks, polling on the issue showed that many people still wanted to wear them.
“I would say not even — if you look at the polling though, there’s also a huge chunk of people who still want masks,” she said.
Psaki said the Biden administration would continue to follow the “science” and the “data” on masking recommendations, despite what Democrat governors have done.
“What our responsibility to do is to abide by what the President committed to on the campaign, which is to listen to scientists, listen to data,” she said. “That doesn’t move at the speed of politics; it moves at the speed of data.”