Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) credited President Joe Biden’s leadership for the rapidly-growing number of states and municipalities that have either set dates to roll back their mask mandates or have already removed them.
Jeffries said Tuesday that it was the Biden administration’s efforts to put in place a “public health infrastructure” that had been instrumental in “crushing the virus” to the degree that many were beginning to see the list at the end of the tunnel.
.@RepJeffries credits Biden for states dropping mask mandates: "That’s because under President Biden's leadership, a public health infrastructure was put into place … to ensure that we can do everything possible to crush the virus, and that is what has been happening” pic.twitter.com/FDjJrjA7aB
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 8, 2022
A reporter asked Jeffries to weigh in on the states that had announced an end — or an end date — to indoor mask mandates. He mentioned California, where the mandates will only remain in place for the unvaccinated, along with Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware — and he asked Jeffries to respond to criticisms that Democrats were in a hurry to put the pandemic behind them as the 2022 midterm elections approached.
“Here’s where we are in America,” Jeffries began. “Job creation is up, wages are up, unemployment is down, and the Omicron variant is in retreat — and that’s not by accident.”
“That’s because under President Biden’s leadership, a public health infrastructure was put into place, beginning with the American Rescue Plan — without a single Republican vote — to ensure that we can do everything possible to crush the virus, and that is what has been happening,” Jeffries continued, adding, “Through the trials and tribulations of a once in a century pandemic, through the Delta variant, now through the Omicron variant.”
Jeffries went on to tout Biden’s record on vaccines, noting that when Biden took office only two million Americans were vaccinated but not mentioning the fact that the vaccines had only just been made available and access to them was still restricted to health care workers and high risk individuals.
“A year later, more than two hundred million Americans are fully vaccinated,” Jeffries said. “That doesn’t happen by accident. Because President Biden and Democrats in the House and the Senate have leaned in to the science, to the evidence, to standing up a robust public infrastructure, and now we are seeing the fruits of that work.”
Several days earlier, CNN medical expert and former Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen gave a slightly different reason for rolling back mandates — namely that giving the people some of their freedom back would help ensure their compliance if medical authorities needed to implement more restrictive measures later.
In the coming days, we will see many Governors and local leaders lift mask mandates. This is the right step, and marks a needed shift from government-imposed requirement to individual decision. It helps to preserve public health authority for when it’s needed again. @wolfblitzer pic.twitter.com/66zwIw6vgH
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) February 7, 2022
As The Daily Wire reported:
“The government can’t keep telling our citizens that this is a five-alarm fire all the time,” she continued, suggesting that the move was at least as much about human behavior as it was about available data. “People are just going to start tuning it out and not pay attention, they’ll be desensitized.”
“And so what needs to happen is we need to end the state of emergency and preserve the ability of public health authorities to reinstitute mandates in the future if we more and more dangerous variants later,” she concluded, effectively arguing that public health authorities would have no power to implement future mandates if they pushed the people too far.