First Lady Jill Biden, who was vaccinated and boosted, wore two masks as she led masked children around the White House grounds on Monday, the day before the DC mandate to use indoor masks expires.
The president’s wife took extra precautions when she hosted second graders from Ayton Elementary School in DC for a Valentine’s Day celebration.
Wearing a soft pink cloth mask over a disposable medical mask, she was followed by a line of small children who appeared to be all wearing medical masks.
On Monday, the White House said it would continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for wearing masks as the state prepares to lift its indoor mask mandate.
“We are going to follow the guidance of the CDC. That’s what we’re going to do,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday at the daily press briefing.
First Lady Jill Biden wears two masks when she hosted Ayton Elementary School students at the White House on Monday to mark Valentine’s Day.
She wore a soft pink cloth mask to match her outfit, over the second medical mask at the White House.
The students she entertained also wore medical masks during her visit.
The First Lady did not maintain a six-foot distance between the children, as she was seen interacting with them during the tour.
During the visit, the first lady was also seen handing out packages of treats to children. Although she wore masks, she did not keep the six-foot distance as she gently touched some students and held the hands of others.
Some Twitter users ridiculed her behavior.
“Give them a mask and then take their hand,” @thereald0rt tweeted. “It’s science.”
– Do you think it’s okay? added another user. “Children in masks. OUTSIDE.’
In accordance with White House internal policy, staff and the President wear masks indoors in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Press secretary Jean-Pierre put it on when she came out to greet the press and only took it off when she got up to the podium to speak.
The Bidens also wore masks on Monday mornings as they returned from Camp David to the White House.
The CDC continues to urge Americans to wear masks, even as several states, including many led by Democratic governors, are waiving those mandates.
And Washington, D.C., on Monday joined a growing ranks of localities that have broken away from federal leadership.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city’s requirement to wear masks in all indoor public places will be lifted from March 1.
On Monday, the White House said it would continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for wearing masks. Biden waves his hand, showing the second graders the territory.
At some point during the visit, she stopped to hand out packets of treats to the children.
She was also seen holding hands with students who were accompanied by two teachers.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden administration officials will continue to wear masks in accordance with CDC guidelines.
But Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city’s requirement to wear masks in all indoor public places would be lifted from March 1.
Mayor Bowser is also repealing a controversial rule requiring people to show proof of vaccination before entering a D.C. business.
Jean-Pierre said the CDC may change its leadership as infection rates continue to decline across the country, but stressed that the agency must consider the needs of the country as a whole.
“The CDC needs to act carefully and deliberately to make sure these good trends are confirmed across the country. The CDC is responsible for leadership for the entire country and for everyone. They must take into account its impact on various populations, including people with disabilities, immunocompromised people and the most vulnerable,” she said.
Last week, President Joe Biden said it was probably “premature” to end mask requirements indoors.
“I promised that I would follow the scientific conclusions proposed by the CDC and the federal authorities, and I think this is probably premature, but this is, you know, a tricky question,” he told NBC’s Lester Holt in a sit-down interview. during an event in Virginia.
Biden has been ridiculed by some Twitter users for requiring children to wear masks outdoors.
Others questioned the logic behind the requirement to wear masks and hold hands with them at the same time. In the picture, she shows off Valentine’s Day cards to her young visitors.
Portions of the tour took the kids indoors, where Biden appeared eager to display holiday decorations.
Covid infections in the US are declining as the country weathers the omicron surge, although hospitalization rates are still high, as is the death rate.
All 50 states have seen a decline in cases over the past two weeks. The U.S. has 223,417 daily infections, down 43 percent from 394,741 cases a day last week.
And several Democratic governors, including those in New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois and Oregon, have waived or are preparing to waive their mask mandates in the coming days for schools and other indoor gatherings.
But the CDC has so far been hesitant to revise the guidance. The agency continues to recommend the wearing of masks to all children in schools and continues to require wearing on planes and trains.
“Our hospitalizations are still high, our death rates are still high. So while we’re working on that and encouraged by current trends, we’re not there yet,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House Covid team press conference on Wednesday.
“We owe it to our children to make sure they can stay safely in school. Right now, that includes disguise. We have seen outbreaks that have occurred in communities where students did not wear masks in schools and were forced to close.”
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden wore masks Monday morning as they returned to the White House after a weekend at Camp David.
But it’s undeniable that as cases decline, Americans’ impatience with the pandemic grows.
In a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 46% of respondents said the US should “learn to live with” the pandemic, compared to 43% who said “we need to do more for vaccinations, masks and testing.” The same poll showed that 40 percent believe the worst of the pandemic is over, and only 27 percent fear the worst is yet to come.
A Monmouth University poll taken in late January showed a sharp 11-point drop in the number of people advocating mandatory mask-wearing compared to September, though it remains at 52 percent.
Seven out of every 10 American voters polled said, “It’s time to recognize that Covid isn’t going anywhere and we just need to get on with our lives.”