WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) – The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to “double” prevention measures against COVID-19, even as some states lift mask warrants.
“I know the idea of wearing a relaxing mask and going back to your daily activities is appealing, but we’re not there yet,” CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky said during a briefing by the White House COVID-19 response team Friday. “We’ve seen this movie before. When prevention measures, like mask warrants, are canceled, cases increase. “
Walensky’s comments come as states like Texas and Mississippi – seeing a drop in infections and hospitalizations – have started lifting mask warrants.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced the end of the state’s mask order and a move to remove limits on the number of customers businesses can serve indoors.
“It’s time to reopen Texas 100%,” the Republican governor said. “So that any business wishing to open can open.”
Mississippi also lifted its face covering mandate on Tuesday.
President Biden this week called on Republican state governors for what he considered “Neanderthal thinking” in deciding to ease their restrictions on COVID-19.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama are near the bottom of the list of states in terms of the number of vaccines given per capita.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the three states also top the list for the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19.
As of Thursday, 34 US states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, still required residents to wear masks in public.
President Joe Biden appointed two new members to the White House COVID-19 response team on Friday.
The president appointed Charles Anderson as the team’s director of economic policy and budget, and Sam Berger as the director of strategic operations and policy. Anderson recently served in an advisory role on fiscal and economic policy to Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, while Berger held a leadership position at the Center for American Progress, a public policy research organization. Anderson and Berger have also held advisory positions in the Obama-Biden administration.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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