Republican governors across the nation are slamming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after it announced Tuesday its recommendation to wear masks in certain situations, regardless of vaccination status.
The public health agency announced Tuesday that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks indoors when in areas that have “substantial” and “high” COVID-19 transmission rates, which sparked immediate criticism from several Republican governors.
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“Governor Abbott has been clear that the time for government mandating of masks is over — now is the time for personal responsibility,” a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement to Fox News. “Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask, or have their children wear masks.”
“Vaccines are the most effective defense against contracting COVID and becoming seriously ill, and we continue to urge all eligible Texans to get the vaccine. The COVID vaccine will always remain voluntary and never forced in Texas,” the spokeswoman added.
Iowa’s governor, Republican Kim Reynolds, also released a statement saying the CDC guidance is not based on “common sense.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement from his office that the CDC’s guidance is not following the science.
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“It isn’t based in science,” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told Fox News. “There is no indication that areas with mask mandates have performed any better than areas without mask mandates. In fact, this policy could actually backfire.”
Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts also expressed dismay at the CDC’s announcement.
“The CDC’s new guidance suggesting that vaccinated people wear masks indoors flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency’s decision making,” Ricketts tweeted.
During a Tuesday press conference, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the growing number of cases of the coronavirus’ delta variant prompted the announcement.
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“In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause COVID-19,” Walensky said. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations. This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly.
The CDC’s updated guidance also recommends that all students K-12 wear masks regardless of vaccination status.