Salt Lake City (Associated Press)-When he called the conservatives on Wednesday, one of the most famous rising stars of the Republican Party ridiculed New government proposal Call for more widespread use of masks to curb the surge of coronavirus.
“Did you not get the memo from the CDC?” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Ron DeSantis) squeezed into an indoor hotel ballroom in Salt Lake City as a group of almost completely maskless activists and legislators Before joking. “I didn’t see you comply.”
From Texas to South Dakota, Republican leaders are hostile and contemptuous of public health officials’ latest mask guidelines. They recommend that even people who have been vaccinated can stay indoors if they live in areas with high transmission rates. wear mask. At a time when efforts to persuade unvaccinated Americans to vaccinate appear to be making progress, this backlash has reopened the culture war over pandemic restrictions.
At the instigation of former President Donald Trump, this response reflects the strong resistance of many Republican voters to restrictions designed to contain the virus that they consider the least personal threat. The party is also taking advantage of increasing frustration and confusion in changing rules and guidance.
However, this resistance has practical implications for a country that desperately wants to escape the pandemic. In addition to vaccination, there are few other tools to curb the spread of delta variants other than wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. Studies have shown that this variant is far more infectious than the original strain.
However, many Republican leaders are blocking preventive measures, which may make it more difficult for conservative communities to control the virus outbreak.
At least 18 Republican-led states have taken action to ban vaccine passports or prohibit public entities from requesting vaccination certificates. Some also prohibit schools from requiring any students or teachers to wear masks or get vaccinated.
In its announcement, the CDC cited disturbing new research — which has not been published so far — which found that fully vaccinated people can spread delta variants like unvaccinated people, leaving those without vaccinations or immune systems The injured are at higher risk. CDC also recommends that all teachers, faculty, staff, and students wear masks in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
The rebound came quickly.
“We will not go back. We will not wear masks to our children,” Trump declared. He often doubts the value of wearing masks and rarely wears masks in public during his tenure. “Why don’t the Democrats trust science?”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson called the new guidelines “disappointing and worrying” and “inconsistent with the overwhelming evidence surrounding the efficacy of the vaccine and its proven results.”
Like others, he warned that this measure will further doubt the efficacy of approved vaccines, thereby undermining efforts to encourage vaccinators to vaccinate. Despite breakthroughs, these vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce deaths or deaths. Risk of hospitalization. case.
Last week, White House officials reported that the vaccination rate On the rise In some states with a surge in COVID-19 cases, As more Republican leaders Plead their voters to put aside lingering doubts and take steps to protect themselves. Among them was Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, who pleaded with unvaccinated residents, calling them “people who let us down.”
Parson said on Twitter: “This self-inflicted frustration encourages suspicion and vaccine hesitation when the goal is to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 through vaccination.” “This decision will only exacerbate us. Fear and further division among citizens.”
Unfortunately, this announcement “will only weaken people’s confidence in vaccines and present more challenges to public health officials who are working tirelessly to increase vaccination rates,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey responded, saying he has The use of masks and vaccines is prohibited in the state.
In his speech on Wednesday, DeSantis specifically addressed the CDC’s call for children to wear masks in class.
He said: “These students sit there all day, and the 6-year-olds in the kindergarten wear masks. This is unhealthy.” There is no evidence that wearing a mask is harmful to children over toddlers.
In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem called on the CDC to change its stance on the issue of “again” masking. She said that those who are worried about the virus can get vaccinated, wear masks or stay at home, but “changes to the CDC guidelines will not help ensure public trust.”
On Capitol Hill, some Republicans’ attending physicians in Congress sent a memo informing members that they must once again wear masks in the House of Representatives and then resist.
This change caused a series of insults. After McCarthy tweeted, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy an “idiot” and “the threat of bringing back masks is not based on a scientific decision. It was a summoned decision. Those liberal government officials who wish to continue to live in a state of perpetual epidemic.”
The authorization also triggered an angry confrontation, as California Rep. Maxine Waters verbally attacked Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, who walked out of the House of Representatives and did not pass by her in a mask.
The Conservative Party also forced a vote to adjourn the meeting to protest the authorization, which was rejected mainly on the partisan line.
“We have a crisis at the border, and we are playing around with the rules for wearing masks in the People’s House,” complained the initiator of the bill, Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas. “The American people have had enough. They want to go back to life. They want to do business again. They want to go back to school without their children being forced to wear masks.”
The country has an average of nearly 62,000 new COVID-19 cases every day, and the vast majority of people hospitalized and dead have not yet been vaccinated. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Sunday, 69% of American adults had received one dose of the vaccine, and 60% had been fully vaccinated.
last year, Early stage of the epidemic, Public health officials told Americans that masks have little protection against the virus (may even increase the risk of infection). The guidelines are driven by the lack of knowledge about how the new virus spreads and the desire to save medical staff with limited supplies of masks. But the CDC quickly changed direction and recommended that Americans wear masks if they are within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of each other indoors and outdoors.
Then in April of this year, as vaccination rates rose sharply, the agency relaxed its guidelines, stating that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks outdoors unless they are among a large group of strangers. in May, Further relaxation of the guidelines, Said that fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing masks in outdoor crowds and most indoor environments.
Subsequent CDC guidelines People who say that they are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks in school.
The White House’s chief deputy press secretary, Karin Jean-Pierre, defended the changes on Wednesday, saying that the CDC “did what it was supposed to do.”
“The CDC must adapt to this virus,” she said. “Unfortunately, because not enough Americans step up vaccinations, they have to provide new guidance to help save lives.”
Colvin reports from Washington. Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper from Phoenix, Alan Fram from Washington, Summer Ballentine from Jefferson, Missouri, and Alexandra Jaffe from Air Force One contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to remove false references to Alabama’s ban on schools requiring masks. The state allows the local school district to make this decision.