Jen Psaki: Social Distancing, Masking Still ‘Essential’ After Vaccination
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, wears a protective mask during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that while he was open to tightening the eligibility for his proposed $1,400 stimulus checks, any move to cut the payments' base amount would mean starting his presidency with a broken promise. Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration is telling Americans to continue to wear masks and social distance even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration is making medical experts available to push a message that people still continue to take precautions against the coronavirus after being vaccinated.

“What we are also trying to do is make our health and medical experts available to ensure people understand – and I’ll reiterate it here today – it’s not just a vaccine,” Psaki said at a Thursday press conference. “It’s obviously an incredible medical breakthrough and we want every American to have one, but even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing [and] wearing masks is going to be essential and we’ll need to continue communicating about that through health and medical experts.”

Psaki’s comments came a day after CNBC host Shepard Smith, formerly of Fox News, shamed a crowd of Floridians shopping in a market in Naples for not wearing masks. As The Daily Wire reports:

CNBC host Shepard Smith was aghast to see footage taken inside a supermarket in Naples, Florida, showing most employees and customers not wearing face masks even though we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.

“We all fantasize about a time when we won’t have to wear the masks anymore,” Smith began the segment, which aired on Wednesday. “It’s not now, but some at a supermarket in Florida appear to have decided that the time is now.”

Footage taken by NBC’s Sam Brock then played, showing customers at the checkout lanes at a grocery store not wearing masks. The employees largely weren’t wearing masks either. The footage was shown with the same tone and level of shock that is usually reserved for video of the aftermath from natural disasters.

“Look at this,” Smith said, “this was the scene at Oakes Farms Seed to Table Market in Naples today. NBC’s Sam Brock took this video, which went viral. It looks like it was taken pre-pandemic, right? Most customers and employees not wearing masks at all (emphasis original).”

Medical experts have shifted advice on masking throughout the pandemic. Last year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted that experts initially “downplayed” the effectiveness of masks in order to discourage Americans from buying them before medical staff.

On Tuesday, Fauci said that the CDC may recommend that people wear two masks instead of one. The government is currently conducting tests to determine whether double-masking would improve the effectiveness of masks.

“In fact, in discussions with my CDC colleagues yesterday, we were talking about how the CDC is looking at doing a study of seeing whether or not two masks are better than one. It makes common sense you would think,” he said. “If one mask serves as a physical barrier, if you put two on – if you’re looking for enhancing the physical barrier – it makes common sense that it certainly can’t hurt and might help.”

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