Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that masks will still be required for members of Congress on the House floor, arguing she doesn’t know who has been vaccinated or not.
Fully-vaccinated Americans can finally stop wearing their masks almost anywhere – indoors or outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday.
But House Speaker Pelosi will still require lawmakers to wear masks on the floor, her spokesperson Drew Hammill confirmed Thursday.
That’s because the vaccination status of many members is unknown, he said.
Pelosi is said to have replied ‘no…are they all vaccinated?’ when probed on the matter by CNN reporter Manu Raju.
Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that masks will still be required members of Congress on the House floor arguing she doesn’t know who is vaccinated or not
Fully-vaccinated Americans can finally stop wearing their masks almost anywhere – indoors or outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday
In April she said: ‘I can’t go to the Capitol physician and say, ‘Give me the names of people who aren’t vaccinated so I can go encourage them to,’ or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated.
‘So we can’t do that. But you would hope that science would guide them to protect themselves, their family members and be good colleagues in the workplace to get vaccinated. And the sooner that happens, the better for everything.’
Pelosi’s doubling down on masks came after she removed her face covering for the first time in in months to speak at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, where she blasted a Republican lawmaker for calling the January 6th riot a ‘normal tourist visit.’
The speaker, wearing red and white patterned mask, removed it when she reached the podium and put it back on at the end of her press conference, citing the change in rules regarding the coverings.
Pelosi’s doubling down on masks came after she removed her face covering for the first time in in months to speak at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, where she blasted a Republican lawmaker for calling the January 6th riot a ‘normal tourist visit’
A sign advising members and staffers to wear face masks on Capitol Hill in June 2020
Democrat Pelosi – who was caught maskless in a salon in September – issued a mask mandate for the House last year.
Members were told they could lower the coverings when they spoke in a change to rules earlier this week.
The Senate does not have a mask mandate; Minority leader Mitch McConnell said he was ‘free at last’ following the updated guidance from the CDC.
Tennessee Republican Tim Burchett has already written to Pelosi, arguing: ‘It is important that we, as members of Congress, lead by example by returning to normal operations.’
Ohio representative Bob Gibbs said: ‘For all the talk from President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and the mainstream media telling us to follow the science, political leaders should be setting an example for getting back to normal, not cowering in fear in defiance of common sense.
‘Based on sound science, the CDC says those who are vaccinated have an incredibly low risk of becoming infected with coronavirus.
‘With that data, there is no reason the House of Representatives should not be fully open and returned to normal operations. It’s time to end the House’s mask mandate and staggered voting.’
US Vice President Kamala Harris and US President Joe Biden leave after the President delivered remarks on Covid-19 response and the vaccination program, from the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, DC on Thursday
First lady Dr Jill Biden, left, exited her plane maskless upon landing in West Virginia to visit a vaccination clinic for students, after departing Washington, D.C. in a pink face covering
Rep. Byron Donalds said: ‘[Masks] should have been gone months ago. Most members have either been vaccinated or they have antibodies. This is a dumb rule to have.’
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise added: ‘She wants to control the House.’
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.
People who are fully vaccinated but immunocompromised people may still be advised by their doctors to keep masking.
Even President Biden – along with several lawmakers meeting him to discuss infrastructure in the Oval Office – stripped off his mask upon the news, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Democrat from New York, told the Guardian.
First lady Dr Jill Biden exited her plane maskless upon landing in West Virginia to visit a vaccination clinic for students, after departing Washington, D.C. in a pink face covering.
However, the CDC’s recommendation is just that – an unenforceable recommendation. States, cities and businesses can still require masks. The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said its health department is reviewing the new guidelines, but has not issued an official update.
More than a third of the U.S. population – and 45 percent of adults – are now fully vaccinated, and nearly 60 percent of adults have had at least a first shot
What’s more, as vaccination rates have risen, President Biden noted that average daily COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest level since April 2020 – just after the pandemic took hold in the U.S. – falling to 586 a day, according to CDC data
More than a third of the U.S. population – and 45 percent of adults – are now fully vaccinated, and nearly 60 percent of adults have had at least a first shot.
What’s more, as vaccination rates have risen, President Biden noted that average daily COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest level since April 2020 – just after the pandemic took hold in the U.S. – falling to 586 a day, according to CDC data.
And cases are nearing pandemic-lows too. The seven-day rolling average of new infections is down to 36,832 – the lowest it’s been since the July lull between surges.
‘Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in activities indoors or outdoors, large or small, without physical distancing,’ announced CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky during a Friday White House press briefing, she said, praising the rapid vaccination effort for allowing masks to come off, and Covid cases to stay down.
Andrew Cuomo says New York is NOT yet ready to ditch the face masks – and California’s governor Newsom says the same
He said the state’s mask mandate would remain in place for now.
‘In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening,’ Cuomo said.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is yet to lift the state’s mask mandate
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection on Thursday announced that they were updating their guidelines, and people who were fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks indoors and out, under most circumstances.
The White House can order face masks be worn on federal property, but elsewhere it is up to state governors to decide. In general, the American Constitution Society said, courts uphold states’ rights to enforce their own face mask mandate or get rid of it, as they see fit.
He said that he and the state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, were still assessing the new guidance.
‘We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states,’ Cuomo said.
He didn’t say when the state might update its guidance.
That means masks still are required in New York state when a person can’t maintain six feet of social distance – even outside and even if the person is vaccinated. It’s not clear if the rule will be enforced.
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued a similar statement, even though people were seen on the streets of Los Angeles celebrating the end of the mask order and had apparently not gotten the message from their governor.
Their approach stands in contrast to the celebratory tone from the CDC and the White House.