The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director went from fretting over “impending doom” about loosening pandemic restrictions to announcing vaccinated individuals can go without masks in less than two months.
The radical pivot is prompting some lawmakers to question the timing as President Biden grapples with several recent crises.
The ‘doom’ comments by Dr. Rochelle Walensky came during a White House press briefing on March 29th.
“I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she said discussing a rise in cases at the time and urging Americans not to ditch precautions yet.
“Right now I’m scared,” she continued. “I know what it’s like, as a physician, to stand in that patient room gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved ones, because their loved ones couldn’t be there.”
“Impending doom”: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday that she’s “scared” about another potential surge of COVID-19 cases and begged Americans to ” just hold on a little longer” with pandemic precautions. https://t.co/yjq4T6QrTm pic.twitter.com/3x0HC8crgT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 29, 2021
CDC Announces No Masks Prompting Some To Question The Timing
In just 45 days’ time, CDC Director Walensky went from doom and gloom to announcing that fully vaccinated Americans could go sans masks.
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“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” she said Thursday.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asks CDC Director Dr. Walensky “How sure are you?” about decision to lift mask restrictions for vaccinated people.
Walensky responds: “We’re sure.” pic.twitter.com/z2SS2l1YwL
— The Recount (@therecount) May 14, 2021
Needless to say, some Democrats do not seem to share in the CDC Director’s newfound blanket optimism.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said the Empire State was not lifting its mask mandate arguing his health officials rely on “the facts and the science” to make their decisions.
This is the same man who kept New Yorkers under his thumb for months on end with arbitrary lockdown rules such as specifically-timed curfews and forcing people to buy food if they were to drink alcohol at bars during the pandemic.
The plot thickens! Cuomo argues specifically that chicken wings are not substantial food, and that they rank below sandwiches in substantiveness: https://t.co/14yKylSzuC
— Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) July 23, 2020
Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) also said he would not lift the mask mandate in his state.
“The challenge is it’s impossible to determine who’s vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated,” he lamented.
The decision by the CDC to allow vaccinated people back in public life without having to wear masks raised the eyebrows of a few Republican lawmakers.
In particular, the timing piqued their interest, with President Biden currently embroiled in several major crises – include a humanitarian crisis at the border, fuel shortages, chaos in the Middle East, and a sputtering economy.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, accused the administration of using it as a distraction.
“The choice is yours” sounds an awful lot like a threat, Joe.
You have no business issuing fear-based ultimatums to the American people. They have the freedom to choose whatever they please – vaccine or not. https://t.co/lD7pH0GWMp
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) May 13, 2021
“While the new mask guidance is encouraging, the CDC and my Far Radical Left colleagues only chose to do this to distract from the consequences of catastrophic policy decisions that have been heard around the world,” he said.
“Inflation is rising, the Middle East is in shambles, the working class can’t fill up their gas tanks, our border is being overrun and the Biden Administration’s leadership is nowhere to be found.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) likewise wondered what made today so different from not that long ago.
Why today? The science hasn’t changed.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) May 13, 2021
“We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” Walensky said.
Nobody has longed for it more than Biden, coincidentally, who needed some positive momentum after a disastrous couple of weeks.
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