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Psaki Defends New Mask Wearing Guidance Amid Rise in New COVID-19 Cases

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is defending new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors in certain situations.

During a briefing on Tuesday, she was asked how the administration planned to get Americans to wear masks and if President Joe Biden’s declaration that the nation had “gained the upper hand on the virus” was “premature.”

“I know this is slightly awkward timing,” Psaki began. “We’re still in the midst of a once-in-a-generation pandemic battling an ever-evolving virus.”

She continued, “We have said since the beginning of June that the Delta variant, a rising variant that was clear from the beginning, had a great deal of transmissibility was a threat to people who were unvaccinated…And the reality is we are dealing with a much different strain of this virus than we were even earlier in the spring, back in May, when the masking guidance was provided by the CDC at that time.”

“That is their job. Their job is to look at evolving information, evolving data, and [an] evolving historic pandemic and provide guidance to the American public,” she added.

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On Tuesday, the CDC released new guidelines that recommended fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas that have “substantial” or “high” levels of transmission of the virus. As CNN notes, that applies to roughly two-thirds of the country.

The new guidance comes as there has been a 144% increase in the average number of new cases recorded per day compared to the prior 14-days.

Do you support the new mask guidance?

Earlier this year, the CDC relaxed its mask-wearing guidance for vaccinated Americans. However, as the pace of vaccination has slowed and the Delta variant has spread throughout the country, several municipalities have reinstituted mask mandates.

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