The White House has backtracked on an initial statement regarding the possibility of reimposing lockdowns across the country in the wake of the spike in new cases of COVID's delta variant. The White House's principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy during a Thursday briefing if the Biden administration is considering future COVID lockdowns, to which she replied affirmative.
Doocy asked that if the White House is "listening to the science" and that if scientists say that "there should be shutdowns and there should be school closures," would the White House go forward with it? Fox News reported that Jean-Pierre said that the Biden administration will "listen" to the scientists' advice. She said, "The CDC is a body that is very well respected and again, we follow their guidance."
Things took a turn just hours later, however, when a White House official stressed two tweets by Jean-Pierre on Thursday evening saying that the Biden administration is not considering lockdowns, despite saying that lockdowns remained on the table during the daily briefing earlier on Thursday.
"To be clear, here is what [President Biden] said this week: '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....We are not going back to that," Jean-Pierre reassured through a tweet.
"We will not be going back into lockdowns. Why? Because we now have the tools to put this virus behind us," Jean-Pierre explained. "The science says the vaccines work - including against the Delta variant. We urge Americans to get vaccinated."
When Doocy asked Jean-Pierre whether Americans should trust President Joe Biden when he says there will no longer be any COVID lockdowns despite the fact that he once said that mask wearing is no longer needed, a mandate that was reimposed recently, she reiterated that the Biden administration will continue to "listen to the scientists, we listen to the experts." She added that these guidelines are "not about politics at all, this is about saving lives, and this is what the president is all about."
According to the New York Post, the Biden administration is being accused by its detractors of "undermining its own insistence on the effectiveness of vaccines" by echoing the CDC's reimposition of mask mandates. Some critics also point out how several Biden administration officials, including the president himself and White House press secretary Jen Psaki fail to wear face masks when addressing the media.
This week, President Biden intensified his vaccination campaign by giving all federal government employees only two choices: either get the COVID vaccine or be subjected to mask mandates, social distancing rules, rigorous COVID testing, and some travel restrictions. President Biden also hinted at seeking advice from the Justice Department on whether he can implement the same measures across the entire nation.