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President Biden issues statement on new CDC mask guidance, pushes for vaccines

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WASHINGTON (WREX) — President Joe Biden has released a statement following the CDC updating its masking guidance.

The agency announced new recommendations Tuesday that even vaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

Scientists cited new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people.

The CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Here's what the president said following the updated guidance:

When I ran for President, I promised to be straight with you about COVID—good news or bad. And I promised to follow the science. That strategy has worked: in my first six months in office, we’ve given out over 300 million shots—and have 60% of adults fully vaccinated and nearly 70% started on vaccinations. Cases are down, and deaths are down dramatically. One estimate suggests that our rapid deployment of the vaccine has saved 100,000 American lives—perhaps more.

Today’s announcement by the CDC—that new research and concerns about the Delta variant leads CDC to recommend a return to masking in parts of the country—is another step on our journey to defeating this virus. I hope all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance will follow it; I certainly will when I travel to these areas.

Today, the CDC also reaffirmed that we can safely reopen schools this fall—full time. Masking students is inconvenient, I know, but will allow them to learn and be with their classmates with the best available protection.

Most importantly, today’s announcement also makes clear that the most important protection we have against the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. Although most U.S. adults are vaccinated, too many are not. While we have seen an increase in vaccinations in recent days, we still need to do better.

On Thursday, I will lay out the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated. Vaccinations are free, safe, and effective to every American. They’ve been available to every adult in this country for more than three months—at locations within 5 miles of 90% of the US population.

By following the science, and by doing our part by getting vaccinated, America can beat COVID. In the meantime, more vaccinations and mask wearing in the areas most impacted by the Delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures, and disruptions we faced in 2020. Unlike 2020, we have both the scientific knowledge and the tools to prevent the spread of this disease. We are not going back to that.

President Biden

The new CDC guidance follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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13 WREX Newsroom

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