White House struggles to get message straight in wake of new CDC guidance

The Biden administration has been pressured in latest days to stroll again statements in regards to the risk of instituting a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate, in addition to the re-imposition of lockdowns due to a surge in circumstances attributable to the Delta variant.

While the White House has endorsed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised recommendations of indoor masks mandates in locations the place there may be “substantial” or “high” ranges of coronavirus transmission, the backslide has led critics to wonder if extra drastic motion is feasible.

Many have additionally accused the administration of undermining its own insistence on the effectiveness of vaccines by backing mask-wearing regardless of vaccination standing. They additionally level out that regardless of the White House ordering staffers to put on masks following the CDC’s advice, neither President Joe Biden nor White House press secretary Jen Psaki wear them when making statements to the media.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden introduced that federal staff should either get vaccinated or endure common coronavirus testing and apply social distancing at work. Following the announcement, the president was requested whether or not he would push for states, faculty districts and personal firms to impose their very own vaccine necessities.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has not been wearing a mask during media briefings.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has not been sporting a masks throughout media briefings.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“Well, I — I’d like to see them continue to move in that direction, and that’s why I point it out,” Biden responded. “I had requested the Justice Department to decide whether or not that’s — they’re in a position to try this legally, they usually can. Local communities can try this. Local companies can try this.

Biden then added: “It’s still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet.”

In an interview with CNN Thursday night time, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients was pressured to deny that the administration was a nationwide mandate.

COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients answers questions during a news conference in April.
COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients solutions questions throughout a information convention in April.
Leigh Vogel/Pool/Sipa USA

“That’s not an authority that we’re exploring at all,” Zients mentioned. “But I think what the president was referring to is, his Justice Department has said that it is legal for employers to require vaccination.”

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was pressured into an identical U-turn Thursday after she responded to a query about lockdowns from Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy.

“If scientists come to you at some point down the line and say, ‘It is our opinion that there should be shutdowns and there should be school closures,’ you would do that?” Doocy requested.

A person gets a PCR COVID-19 test by nurse Stefanie Sampson on Tuesday at the Children's Services of Roxbury in Boston on Feb. 23, 2021
Federal staff will both have to get vaccinated or endure common COVID testing.
Boston Globe through Getty Images

“Well, like I said, we listen to the CDC, and the experts and their guidance,” Jean-Pierre answered. “You know, our — the CDC is a body that is very well-respected, and we follow — again, we follow their guidance.”

Hours after the briefing, Jean-Pierre tweeted: “We will not be going back into lockdowns. Why? Because we now have the tools to put this virus behind us. The science says the vaccines work – including against the Delta variant. We urge Americans to get vaccinated.”

On Friday, Jean-Pierre was requested by Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News why the White House COVID-19 response group of Zients, chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy had not held a joint press briefing since July 22.

“I would argue that we had the president of the United States speak to this yesterday,” Jean-Pierre responded about Biden remarks on Thursday. “He gave a more than 30-minute speech about where we are as a country. I mean, he is a trusted voice. He is the leader of our country.”

Unvaccinated Americans account for over 99 percent of COVID-related deaths.
Unvaccinated Americans account for over 99 % of COVID-related deaths.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutte

“But he’s not a scientist,” O’Donnell interjected.

“No, but we heard from him, right?” Jean-Pierre answered. “We heard from the president yesterday. We heard from the president in regards to the Delta variant and vaccinations in normal the day earlier than yesterday when he was in Pennsylvania … he led off speaking in regards to the vaccinations. We have had our medical doctors in your networks, on many of the networks which might be right here … speaking in regards to the Delta variant all all through these final couple of days. So, they’ve been on the market, they’ve been speaking about it and yeah, we heard immediately from Dr. Walensky herself.

“So, this is something that we’re going to continue to do,” the spokesperson added. “We’re gonna continue to make sure that we communicate directly with the American people and also work hand-in-hand with local governments and state governments as well.”

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