White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t definitively say whether President Joe Biden favors implementing restrictions for unvaccinated Americans during Monday’s press briefing.
The Delta variant – believed to be the most transmissible variant to date – makes up 83% of new COVID-19 cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said last week. The spike in infections are worrying officials, and the Biden administration has declared it to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. (RELATED: ‘The Only Pandemic We Have Is Among The Unvaccinated’: Biden Says Facebook Misinformation Is ‘Killing People’)
Amid new cases, journalists have pressed the administration on whether the CDC plans to revise its mask mandate for vaccinated individuals and whether more should be done to restrict activites for those who haven’t gotten the shot. Psaki dodged when asked whether Biden favors restrictions for unvaccinated people regarding participating in activities like going to the movies and restaurants, instead opting to note that the president follows CDC guidelines.
“The president favors using the CDC as his North Star, and what the health and medical experts are going to advise on how to save more lives and protect people,” Psaki said.
When pressed on whether that means Biden doesn’t favor restrictions, Psaki again referred to Biden’s belief in being “guided by the science and by the data.”
“So he will look to his health and medical team to advise on what steps we should take,” the press secretary said.
The press secretary hasn’t openly backed issuing a mask mandate for vaccinated Americans, either. Instead, she’s cited CDC guidelines and pointed out that currently there is no mask mandate for vaccinated individuals. The CDC has been considering changing these guidelines, Fauci told CNN on Sunday.
“This is under active consideration,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “If you’re asking am I part of the discussion, yes, I am part of the discussion. But I think what you are seeing, even though as of our conversation at this moment, the CDC still says and recommends that if you are vaccinated fully, that you do not need to wear a mask indoors.”
Fauci said the country is “going in the wrong direction” and speculated that it is “not going to be good” if more Americans don’t take the vaccine.