President Joe Biden kept his face mask on even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday said that fully vaccinated Americans can now safely move outside without masks. Interestingly, Biden was wearing his mask while attending an outdoor press event at the White House, where he was announcing the new CDC guidelines that included eliminating the need for face coverings at such gatherings.
He cited the reason as for doing so because he wanted to make a point. This has raised questions in the mind of many why the President was wearing a mask if it was actually not required anymore, going by the new CDC guidelines.
Biden wore his face mask as he walked onto the North Lawn of the White House to deliver share his views on the coronavirus pandemic. He paired the dark mask with his signature aviator sunglasses against the bright, sunny day. The press event was designed to herald the eased mask restrictions for fully vaccinated people, such as himself.
However, he kept his mask on while no one was close to him, which was actually not required. Finally, after reaching the podium with his mask on, he took it off and said, "Starting today, if you're fully vaccinated and you're outdoors, you need — and not in a big crowd — you no longer need to wear a mask."
The President was asked by a reporter later on what kind of message he was trying to send by wearing his mask even to the podium when no one was close to him. "By watching me take it off and not put it back on until I get inside," the president replied. There was only a few reporters and staff on hand for his outdoor remarks.
Biden was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before he took the oath of office on Inauguration Day in January.
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After his remarks, Biden left the podium, set up next to the driveway outside the White House, with his face mask in hand and went inside the White House. White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on the issue at a later media briefing — including over whether the President would be appearing more frequently without his mask.
"He'll be following public health guidelines so I think you saw him outside today - he took the mask off, he didn't put the mask back on," she said at her press briefing. "It will take some time to adjust and adapt for all of us," she added.
On Tuesday, the CDC came up with a fresh set of guidelines wherein it eased the face mask restrictions Biden had called on all Americans to mask up for 100 days when he became President. Thursday marks his 100th day in office. The CDC guidelines come just two days before that.
"If you are fully vaccinated, things are much safer for you. There are many situations in which Americans do not need to wear masks if they are fully vaccinated, particularly outdoors," said CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky during a Tuesday Covid-19 team briefing.