White House says states and local governments don't need to reinstate mask mandates to fight omicron
The White House clarified Monday that states, cities, and counties that have dropped mask mandates do not necessarily need to reinstate them in response to the newly discovered coronavirus omicron variant.
The clarification came from press secretary Jen Psaki shortly after President Joe Biden, following national remarks on the global rise of omicron, encouraged "everyone to wear a mask when they're indoors, in a crowded circumstance like we are right now, and unless you're eating or speaking at a microphone."
"If people are vaccinated and wear their masks, there's no need for lockdowns," he added, evading a straight answer when asked by reporters if local jurisdictions, which have dropped restrictions under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, should reimpose mask mandates.
"The guidance from the CDC has not changed, right, which the district — which D.C. is abiding by, and other localities are abiding by," Psaki added when asked to clarify the point during Monday's briefing. "Our advice continues to be to follow the advice and counsel of national public health experts from the CDC and others."
"Of course, they're continuing to assess, as you saw by our announcement over the weekend, our health officials are, any additional steps that need to be taken," she continued. "So our advice and recommendations continue to be to watch that closely and follow that in order to protect our communities."
You can watch the entirety of Monday's briefing below.
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