Update (1448ET): President Biden has slammed Texas and Mississippi for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, calling it "Neanderthal thinking."
President Biden on Texas and Mississippi lifting their statewide mask mandates: "I think it's a big mistake...It's critical, critical, critical that they follow the science…" pic.twitter.com/ETcTJw04ij— CSPAN (@cspan) March 3, 2021
"I think it's a big mistake...It's critical, critical, critical that they follow the science…" said Biden.
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Newly minted CDC Director Rochelle Walensky wants residents of Texas and Mississippi to continue wearing face masks despite the governors there lifting COVID-19 restrictions amid a decline in cases.
"I think we, the CDC, have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions," said Walensky during a White House pandemic briefing in response to a question about reopening Texas. "Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what states decide."
On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott enraged the left after announcing that the state would lift its mask mandate and reopen businesses next week, while also banning counties from fining or jailing people who disregard local measures.
Effective March 10, all businesses will be allowed to open at 100% of capacity, Abbott said during a media briefing in Lubbock on Tuesday. His executive order allows county judges to reinstate anti-virus rules should hospitalizations surge.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities; too many small-business owners have struggled to pay their bills,” the Republican governor said. “It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
In response to Abbott's proclamation, a flood of presumed Democrats vowed to continue wearing masks, and encouraged others to do so (h/t Summit News).
Dear fellow Texans, please ignore this man. He doesn't give a damn whether you live or die. He's concerned with profits -- not people. Continue as you were until more people are vaccinated. We have to take care of each other because TX GOP isn't up to the task.— Ponder this ... (@GRB_01) March 2, 2021
Either way I’ll still be wearing mine. I never realized how nasty some ppl are especially when coughing/sneezing 🤢. I don’t need other ppl’s germs. A whole year since this started I’ve not been sick with a cold. Prior to Covid I was sick either with a cold or allergies (TX😒)— . (@geuv_c) March 2, 2021
Mississippi, meanwhile, announced that it would rescind county mask mandates on Wednesday, and that businesses could operate at full capacity.