Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Texas and Mississippi residents to keep wearing face coverings after their Republican governors lifted COVID-19 mask mandates in the states — slamming the decision as “inexplicable.”
Texas lifted its mask order amid approval of Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccine — and the announcement of an amped-up federal plan to get every adult in the US vaccinated by the end of May.
Soon after, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he also would end a statewide mask order.
But Fauci, the president’s science adviser, on Thursday said “now is not the time to pull back” on the public health measures.
“The good news is we have vaccines coming online. You see the curve of infections coming down,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“But we have reached a bit of plateau where the deflection isn’t going straight down the way it was,” he said, adding, “I would advise the people of Texas and Mississippi to just abide by the public health measures we talk about all the time.”
The top US infectious diseases expert told CNN in a separate interview that the decisions to roll back measures is “inexplicable.”
“I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55 to 70,000 infections per day in the United States,” Fauci told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
Fauci’s condemnation came after President Biden on Wednesday slammed the “neanderthal thinking” of Gov. Greg Abbott and Gov. Tate Reeves.
“The last thing, the last thing you need is neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything is fine, take off your mask,” he told reporters when asked about scrapped mask orders in Texas and Mississippi.
“It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water. Do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it,” he said.