White House Instructs Staff to State Wearing Masks Again
The White House is in hiding again, just over two months after President Biden and senior government officials ditched their face coverings in the biggest sign yet that the country was heading back to normalcy.
The change came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that people vaccinated against the coronavirus should resume wearing masks in indoor public spaces in areas of the country where the virus is in full swing, amid growing reports of groundbreaking infections of the more contagious Delta variant among people who are completely immune.
An email to White House staff with instructions to resume wearing masks indoors arrived at 5 p.m. sharp, an hour after the CDC updated its county data online. The new data has turned Washington, DC from yellow to orange, indicating it has a “substantial” level of community transmission, senior officials said.
Over the past week, the city has recorded an average of 52 cases per day over seven days, an increase of 148% from the average of two weeks ago (and not 52 cases per 100,000 population, as indicated in a previous article).
“As a result, the White House will require that all individuals – regardless of their immunization status – wear a mask at all times on campus,” according to the email, which was obtained by The New York Times. The new policy begins Wednesday morning.
The email said the masks could only be removed “alone in an office with a closing door, or by eating or drinking and keeping at least 8 to 10 feet away.” The new guidelines represent a return to the strict masking rules that defined the early months of the Biden administration, when staff members were prohibited from meeting in large groups and conducted most of their meetings in offices with the doors closed, on Zoom.
The email also noted that “the vast majority of those working on campus are fully vaccinated.”
The White House Correspondents Association quickly followed the administration’s lead, emailing reporters who cover the White House and work in the building that it was “reimposing its mask requirement for all interior spaces. of the White House ”.
Because Washington is one county, the new CDC guidelines apply to the entire city. In contrast, the new CDC guidelines mean that states with relatively high virus transmission could issue county-by-county mask requirements.
Earlier today, White House press secretary Jen Psaki delivered the daily press briefing without a mask, and members of her staff sat in the room with their faces uncovered. The majority of journalists in the room were also not wearing masks.
“We will be ready to wear masks again,” Ms Psaki said earlier today, when asked how the new CDC guidelines would affect the president and his staff.
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