President Joe Biden expressed disappointment Monday that coronavirus cases are once again rising, urging states to pause reopening efforts and reinstate mask mandates.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” Biden said at the White House. “Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”
Biden offered Americans a message of both hope and doom. His speech promoted progress in getting the country vaccinated but also warned of impending spikes in cases and hospitalizations.
About seventeen states, led by Republican governors, have either lifted their mask mandates or never enacted them, including highly populated states in Florida and Texas.
“Mask up. Mask up. It’s a patriotic duty. It’s the only way we get back to normal,” he said.
Joe Biden even urged private businesses to continue requiring that customers wear masks.
He pointed to a warning of “impending doom” from Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky earlier Monday, urging Americans to keep following coronavirus restrictions and guidelines.
“This is deadly serious,” Biden said, and added, “The failure to take this virus seriously is what precisely got us into this mess in the first place.
Biden also condemned Americans who continued to travel and party during spring break, predicting a spike of cases as a result.
“New variants are spreading, and sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead,” he said.
Biden said Americans were mistakenly letting up on the coronavirus restrictions.
“Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate,” he said.
At the end of Biden’s comments, reporters asked him if he believed that states currently loosening coronavirus restrictions should pause their efforts.
“Yes,” he replied.