Biden's Mask Habit Causing 'Confusion,' Critics Say President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, April 30, 2021. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 03 May 2021 12:01 PM
President Joe Biden's continued "habit" of wearing a mask while outside has caused "confusion" over his administration's position on whether fully vaccinated people should wear a mask while outside, CNN reports.
Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's official guidance states that fully vaccinated people don't need to wear a mask while outdoors unless they're in a crowd, Biden has continued to wear a mask outside even when by himself, a move that some conservatives have criticized.
The Republican National Committee ripped Biden, saying he was "breaking" guidance from the CDC, and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kans., claimed over the weekend that the Biden administration is "shaming people" who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"It is America. Everybody has an individual right. I think that one of the things we have to be careful about is not shaming people or talking down to them or objecting to their way of life," Marshall, who is a physician, told CNN's "Newsroom" last Saturday.
"They've been told they don't need a mask. They need a mask. They've been told that even if you have a vaccine, you have to keep wearing the mask," Marshall said.
Some experts remain divided on whether masks should still be worn. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiac surgeon and professor at George Washington University, told CNN that the CDC had been "too cautious," and said the agency has "been both very competent since the new administration took over and very cautious."
He added that while he previously insisted that people should wear masks during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he now believes that a fully vaccinated person no longer needs to wear a mask, either inside or in public.
"It's time for the CDC to start embracing this kind of bifurcated strategy and perhaps giving the unvaccinated a hint of what life can be like if they become vaccinated," he said.
White House adviser Anita Dunn told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Biden has continued wearing a mask outdoors as "a matter of habit" and is taking "extra precautions," despite the CDC relaxing official guidelines on wearing masks while outside last week.
"I myself found that I was still wearing my mask outdoors this week, because it has become such a matter of habit. I think the president takes the CDC guidelines very seriously. And he's always taken his role as sending a signal to follow the science very seriously as well," she said.
"We do take some extra precautions for him because he is the president of the United States. But I would say that people should follow the CDC guidelines, and they should take advantage of getting the vaccine, getting fully vaccinated, and taking that mask off, particularly as the weather grows so beautiful and we all want to be outside.
"It's a lot more fun to take that outside walk without a mask, that outside bike ride. And I think that as people get vaccinated … they're enjoying that freedom. So, as we move forward, I think that you will see more and more people … getting the vaccine and realizing it's one big step towards normalcy in this country."