Republican governors are slamming updated guidance from the Biden administration instructing vaccinated people to mask indoors and pushing universal masking in K-12 schools.
A group of GOP governors announced that their states would not be following the CDC’s guidance, which “revised” some of the CDC’s previous recommendations. The CDC changed its guidance because of the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant.
“We believe the vast majority of transmission is occurring in unvaccinated people and through unvaccinated people, but unlike the Alpha variant that we had back in May — where we didn’t believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further – this is different now, with the Delta variant, and we’re seeing now that it’s actually possible if you are a rare breakthrough infection that you can transmit further, which is the reason for the change,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Governors argued that the availability and widespread use of vaccines has negated any need for additional mask requirements.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson called the new guidance “disappointing and concerning” that the agency would make a seemingly political decision not based on science in crafting its masking guidelines.
“The recently updated CDC guidance regarding mask wearing for fully vaccinated individuals is disappointing and concerning. It’s disappointing because it is inconsistent with the overwhelming evidence surrounding the efficacy of the vaccines and their proven results,” Parson said in a statement Wednesday. “It only serves to disrupt the increases we are seeing in vaccine uptake. This self-inflicted setback encourages skepticism and vaccine hesitancy at a time when the goal is to prevent serious illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 through vaccination.”
“It’s concerning because the nation’s top public health agency appears to be cowering to the political pressures of those who only want to force mandates and shutdowns, which only further prolong the recovery. This decision only promotes fear & further division among our citizens,” he added.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that his state would not be implementing another mask mandate no matter the CDC’s changing guidance.
“The time for government mask mandates is over — now is the time for personal responsibility. In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities,” Abbott said in a statement. “Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts slammed the CDC and said the new guidance “flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency’s decision making.”
“The CDC announcement only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC and does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines that are helping bring the pandemic to a conclusion. The State of Nebraska will not be adopting their mask guidance,” Ricketts said Tuesday. “Furthermore, I will reiterate my expectations for schools and universities in the fall. Schools should convene in person without mask or vaccine requirements.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds additionally slammed the new guidance: “The Biden Administration’s new COVID-19 guidance telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts but also not grounded in reality or common sense. I’m concerned that this guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support.”
“The vaccine remains our strongest tool to combat COVID-19, which is why we are going to continue to encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” she added. “I am proud that we recently put new laws in place that will protect Iowans against unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments. As I have throughout this pandemic, I trust Iowans to do the right thing.”