Public health officials from President Joe Biden’s administration pleaded Wednesday for Americans to keep wearing masks in states like Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted the statewide mask mandate Tuesday.
“Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here regardless of what the states decide,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing with reporters Wednesday morning.
Walensky fielded a question about Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate in Texas.
“I think we at the CDC have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions,” she said.
Texas and Mississippi on Tuesday joined a handful of Republican-led states that no longer have statewide mandates to wear a mask.
But Walensky argued that the next month or two was “pivotal” to stop the spread of the virus as vaccinations get distributed.
Biden officials acknowledged during the briefing that people were getting tired of the coronavirus restrictions, but urged them to keep wearing masks.
“Stamina has worn thin; fatigue is winning, and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are all too often being flagrantly ignored,” Walensky said.
Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt said Biden was “100 percent” behind the advice of Dr. Walensky.
“Even though it’s counterintuitive, it’s actually the most important time for people to make sure we run through the tape and finish that up,” he said.