WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has criticized decisions in Texas and Mississippi to roll back statewide mask warrants and other Covid-19 health guidelines as “Neanderthal thinking.”
“I think that’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everyone now realizes that masks are making a big difference. We’re about to be able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because the way that we can get vaccines from, ”Biden told reporters.
“The last thing we need is for Neanderthals to think that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off our mask, forget about it,” he added.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced that it was “now time to open up Texas 100%”, citing the economic impact of the virus. Shortly after Abbott’s announcement, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he would also end his state’s mask tenure. Both governors are Republicans.
The governors’ decision came just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the easing of the guidelines could lead to a new upward trend in cases.
Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior adviser on the Covid-19 response, said on Wednesday that the Biden administration was “using the absolute full extent of all areas over which we have federal control” to enforce the guidelines sanitary facilities and that she was “actively very, very clear about what we think needs to happen.”
“We hope that other elected officials who have authority in their fields will, in fact, listen,” he said.
Biden said the United States risked thousands more deaths from Covid-19 if Americans abandon basic guidelines to stop the spread, including masks and social distancing.
“He’s critical, critical, critical that they follow science,” Biden said of governors.
Biden announced on Tuesday that the United States should have enough doses of the three licensed Covid-19 vaccines for every American adult by the end of May, two months earlier than previous estimates. He attributed the accelerated delay to the administration’s efforts to speed up production and distribution of the vaccine.