President Biden warned against the continued threat of the coronavirus Tuesday, just hours after Republican-controlled states announced a reversal on COVID safety policies.
“Though we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, wear masks — keep wearing them, get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Biden said from the White House. “Now is not the time to let up.”
The president’s words followed a tweet by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, announcing that all state imposed coronavirus regulations will be lifted Wednesday, including mask mandates.
BIDEN SAYS COVID-19 VACCINES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL US ADULTS BY END OF MAY
“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a similar announcement earlier in the day, and claimed that with vaccine advances and a reduction in the number of state-wide cases, he will rescind many of the state’s COVID mandates next week.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said when announcing that all businesses will be allowed to operate with a 100 percent capacity and masks are no longer required.
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed,” Abbott added.
BIDEN DIRECTS STATES TO PRIORITIZE EDUCATORS IN VACCINE ROLLOUTS AS HE AIMS TO REOPEN SCHOOLS
The announcement by the Republican governors comes just one day after the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, warned that with the new COVID variants on the rise, there is the potential of a fourth resurgence in cases if the public is not careful.
“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said during a White House briefing Monday.
“Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” she continued. “We have the ability to stop a potential fourth surge of cases in this country.”
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Biden urged states Tuesday, to remember his request to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration and to continue to follow health guidelines like frequent hand washing and social distancing.
“Now’s not the time to let our guard down,” he said from the White House. “People’s lives are at stake.”
Fox News could not immediately reach either governor’s office for comment regarding their decisions despite CDC warnings.