Biden condemns Texas and Mississippi for ending mask mandates, calling it ‘a big mistake’ and ‘Neanderthal thinking’

biden face mask
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds up a face mask at The Queen theater on October 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

  • President Biden said Texas and Mississippi lifting their mask mandates was “a big mistake” and a result of “Neanderthal thinking.” 
  • Federal health officials are urging Americans to continue wearing masks in public, social distancing, and washing their hands. 
  • The Republican governors of Iowa, Montana, and North Dakota all ended their states’ mask mandates earlier this year.
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President Joe Biden on Wednesday called recent decisions in Texas and Mississippi to defy federal public health guidance and lift their face mask mandates “a big mistake” and a result of “Neanderthal thinking.” 

On Tuesday, Texas became the largest state to end its state-wide mask mandate and Mississippi lifted its county-specific mask mandates after ending its state order in September. 

“I hope everyone’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask — forget it. It still matters.” 

He added that it’s “critical, critical, critical that they follow the science: wash your hands — hot water, do it frequently — wear a mask, and stay socially distanced. I know you all know that, I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it.”

Several states have loosened their COVID-19 mitigation policies in recent weeks and months. The Republican governors of Iowa, Montana, and North Dakota all ended their states’ mask mandates earlier this year. While North Carolina, Michigan, Louisiana, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Chicago, and San Francisco have begun easing restrictions on indoor dining and other activities, they’ve kept their state-wide mask orders in place. 

Federal health officials are urging Americans to continue wearing masks in public, social distancing, and washing their hands. 

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this week. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

 

 

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