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'Virtue Signaling': Joe Scarborough Calls Out New Jersey, California Over Mask Mandates

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“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough put the focus on states that are still requiring a mask mandate, for now, despite new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

He is suggesting some states may be “virtue signaling.”

Noting he supports New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) remarks suggesting “everybody needs to go at their own pace,” as Scarborough put it, the host said, “But states and localities, they need to follow the CDC and lift the mask mandates.”

He, however, noted, “If I see somebody inside wearing a mask and I get close to them, I’ll put it on, not for me, but to make them feel more comfortable. We can do things like that. We can make that decision to be courteous.”

Scarborough continued, “If you’re going to follow the CDC guidelines — and if we’re going to lecture Trump for a year that he needs to follow CDC guidelines — well, these governors that were attacking Trump for a year need to follow CDC guidelines.”

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The U.S. issued new guidance late last week that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors in most circumstances. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

Scarborough added:

“The thought that New Jersey is still shut down with over 70% vaccination rate and their cases plummeting, the fact that California is not going to lift their mandates for another month after the CDC said, go back to living normal. … Maybe that’s virtue signaling. There certainly was virtue signaling from the other side, trashing mask stands, and things like that. Oh, dear lord. But whatever it is, again, people, live and let live. Whatever they want to do is fine.”

Watch Scarborough’s remarks below:

California does not plan to lift its mask mandate until after June 15.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) was pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on requiring residents to still wear masks indoors despite the new CDC guidance. In New Jersey, COVID-related deaths and new cases reported are both down.

“Why did you decide to go against the CDC guidance and keep the indoor mask mandates in place for fully vaccinated people?” Tapper asked on Monday, to which Murphy replied, “I wouldn’t say necessarily against it,” adding, “We’re just not ready yet.”

Murphy also said, “This is not remotely forever and always. This is a matter of a couple of more weeks on the clock.”

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According to The New York Times, “Some of the states with the worst early-spring outbreaks have seen the most significant progress. Cases are down about 70 percent in the last two weeks in New Jersey, and down about 40 percent in Michigan and New York.”

Regarding the CDC’s recommendation, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Monday, “I think we’ve got to get some clarification from the CDC. The rollout … was a bit abrupt, and I think they’ve got a lot of clarification they need to do.”

She added, “I know, for me personally, I’m going to continue to wear a mask in public, and I’m going to encourage others to do so. We’ve got to make sure people are continuing to follow the public health guidance that has gotten us this far, and masks, I think, are a big and important part of that.”

States like Texas, Florida, and Mississippi already rolled back their mask mandates prior to the CDC’s recommendation.

Two months after ending its mask mandate, Texas reported on Sunday zero new COVID-19-related deaths. The state has also seen a 38% decrease in new cases reported in a 14-day change. Florida and Mississippi also have seen decreases in new cases.

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