Politics

Democratic governors outpace White House with masking pullbacks

Several states led by Democratic governors have laid out timelines to remove mask mandates for residents, which has left the White House behind, leading to pressure on government health officials to solidify the end of the pandemic.

The wave of cases driven primarily by the spread of the omicron variant seems to be on the decrease, signaling a possible end to the worst of this health crisis.

According to CNN reporting, the White House is apparently “thinking about” a plan for the emergency period following the pandemic, but on Monday, the Biden administration did not endorse a loosening of masking in schools. The administration has considered school masking to be a key weapon against the spread of Covid-19.

President Biden ran for office in 2020 on the promise to “shut down” the virus, going as far as to declare some independence from it on the Fourth of July last year, but he received backlash for raising expectations inappropriately.

Now, the president is facing additional pressure to take steps toward returning to normal life as the omicron wave is slowing quickly, and local officials have begun to take the situation into their own hands.

Just on Monday, three Democratic governors, in Connecticut, Delaware, and New Jersey, as well as the public health department in Oregon set timelines to roll back classroom masking mandates. New York plans to follow suit soon, and several Republican-led states do not have such mandates in place at all. 

Progress in the blue states is once again outpacing the messaging from the White House regarding the pandemic. White House press secretary Jen Psaki emphasized on Monday that there were not any changes to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommend masking in schools, but she did say it would be up to local school districts to decide for themselves.

“We certainly don’t see this moment now as the new normal…but we want to get to a point…where Covid is not disrupting our daily lives,” she said, recalling Biden’s comments from less than two weeks ago.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT

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