Republican leaders in Congress slammed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after it released new mask mandates on Tuesday for everyone, vaccinated or not. The new guidelines that require people to keep wearing masks no matter their vaccination status has drawn ire from GOP leaders who believe that the new mandates do not "follow the science."
According to Fox News, several Republican governors expressed dissent on the CDC's new mask mandates after it required everyone, vaccinated or not, to keep wearing masks despite it lifting mask mandates in May. On Tuesday, the CDC said it was important to wear masks indoors especially in areas that have "substantial" and "high" COVID transmission rates.
"Governor Abbott has been clear that the time for government mandating of masks is over - now is the time for personal responsibility," a spokeswoman for the Texas governor said in a statement. "Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask, or have their children wear masks."
The spokeswoman added that Texans should get the vaccine because it is "most effective defense against contracting COVID and becoming seriously ill," but maintains that the vaccines will "always remain voluntary and never forced in Texas."
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa openly criticized the CDC, saying that its new mask mandate is "not only counterproductive to [the state's] vaccination efforts, but also not grounded in reality or common sense." The GOP governor added that the "vaccine remains our strongest tool to combat COVID-19, which is why are are going to continue to urge everyone to get the vaccine."
Gov. Reynolds concluded by saying that she was proud that the state had established laws to protect its citizens against "unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said that the new mask mandate that requires everyone, vaccinated or not, to keep wearing masks "isn't based in science." She argued that there was "no indication that areas with mask mandates have performed any better than areas without mask mandates."
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska took to Twitter to denounce CDC's mask mandates, writing that "suggesting that vaccinated people wear masks indoors flies in the face of the public health goals that should guide the agency's decision making" and that the new guidance "only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC" and "does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines that are helping bring the pandemic to a conclusion."
Gov. Ricketts declared that Nebraska will not abide by CDC's new mask mandates. Meanwhile, Yahoo! News reported that Texas' Representative Dan Crenshaw also took to Twitter to write about the new CDC mask mandate, which he described as the "final political nail into the credibility coffin of public health."
When PBS' Judy Woodruff asked controversial infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci if the CDC "jumped the gun" when lifting mask mandates in May, he said that at the time, they were dealing with the alpha variant and that now the more contagious delta variant is spreading, it's important to mask up once again.
Dr. Fauci argued, "It isn't a question of the CDC flip-flopping in a vacuum. They are keeping up with the evolution of what's going on with the virus."