Washington (AP) – US President Joe Biden has criticized the relaxation of corona-related restrictions in several US states and accused the responsible governors of “Neanderthal thinking”.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” said the White House Democrat of lifting restrictions in Texas and Mississippi. Not until the end of May will there be enough vaccine to vaccinate all adult Americans. “The last thing we need is for a Neanderthal to think everything will be fine in the meantime.” It is “crucial” to follow the protective measures recommended by science.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that it would lift the mask requirement and all capacity limits for restaurants and other businesses in his state. Republican Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, had also announced that all orders for mask wearing and capacity limits for restaurants and businesses would be discontinued. Other states, including Ohio and Michigan, have at least announced that they are relaxing their corona requirements.
Abbott and Reeves defended themselves against criticism on Twitter. “We are able to contain Covid and secure 100 percent open Texas,” Abbott wrote. Reeves criticized Biden for calling it “Neanderthal thinking” to let the people of Mississippi decide how to protect themselves. The governor wrote that these people did not need “caretakers”. “I think we should trust the Americans and not insult them.”
Top immunologist and Biden advisor Anthony Fauci called the withdrawal of the protective measures “unexplained” and “rash”. Fauci told CNN that months ago the United States saw the number of cases increase again, after some states failed to follow the experts’ guidelines. The daily number of cases in the US has fallen to 55,000 to 70,000, but is still high – and the decline has now slowed.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki criticized politicians who had not taken the expert advice seriously since the start of the Corona crisis. The US has been battling the pandemic for a year, Psaki said. “And the whole country is paying the price for political leaders who ignored the science of the pandemic.”
Psaki emphasized that Biden’s call for Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office was based on reviews from experts who believed that 50,000 lives could be saved in this way. “We must remain vigilant.”
The head of the US health authority CDC, Rochelle Walensky, warned, “Now is not the time to relax all requirements.” She called on people to continue to adhere to pandemic containment precautions, such as wearing masks, “regardless of the state’s decision.”
Biden’s predecessor in office, Donald Trump, denied the danger of the virus at the start of the pandemic, later used certain drugs as alleged miracle cures without scientific evidence, and until recently made it clear that he found wearing masks rather unpleasant. Biden has made the fight against the pandemic one of his main goals.
Since the start of the pandemic, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University, nearly 520,000 people in the United States have died after being infected with the coronavirus. More than 28.7 million of the approximately 330 million Americans contracted the virus. Infection numbers are well below those at the start of the year, but have remained at more than 50,000 in recent days.