Washington – And just like that, the masks were back in the White House.
After insisting for days that vaccinated people were safe from the coronavirus, the White House quickly changed course on Tuesday after federal authorities modified its guidelines to recommend the use of masks for those who are vaccinated but live in areas where the level of transmission of COVID-19 was significant or high. That includes Washington DC, where updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found transmission rates Tuesday to be remarkable.
Starting Wednesday, the White House will require all of its employees to wear masks indoors again. Reporters covering the source should follow these measures and wear masks indoors, although both staff and journalists who were still in the presidential residence Tuesday afternoon were already wearing them.RELATED
An adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris handed out masks to reporters covering the day’s events, asking them to put them on before entering a meeting with indigenous peoples leaders on voter rights.
And President Joe Biden hinted that there could be more changes in the near future, after the highly contagious delta variant has increased and has driven infection rates across the country. After the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccination would be mandatory for its healthcare workers, Biden said it was “considering” making the virus vaccine mandatory for federal workers.
Biden also brushed aside concerns that the CDC’s new mask use guidelines could create confusion among Americans, saying that it is those who remain unvaccinated who are “sowing enormous confusion.”
“The more we learn about this virus and the delta variant, the more we have to worry and occupy ourselves. There’s just one thing we know for sure: if those other 100 million people were vaccinated, we’d be in a very different world, ”Biden told reporters after speaking with intelligence community employees in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.