On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that even after a person has received a vaccine, “social distancing and wearing masks will be essential.”
A reporter had asked Psaki at Thursday’s press briefing what the Biden administration will do to combat people refusing to wear masks beyond urging people to wear them, amid new strains of the coronavirus starting to reach the United States.
Psaki replied saying that the White House is trying to communicate about wearing masks “as frequently as possible” and she went on to say that she and all the reporters were listening to health experts by wearing masks. She also touted President Joe Biden mandating mask-wearing on public lands and airplanes as a step taken in enforcing masks.
“But part of what we are also trying to do is make our health and medical experts available to ensure people understand—and I’ll reiterate it here today—it’s not just a vaccine,” which she called a “medical breakthrough” and said “we want every American to have one”.
“But even after you’re vaccinated,” she added, “social distancing and wearing masks will be essential.”
As of Thursday afternoon, 35 million vaccine doses have been administered to Americans, according to state-by-state data compiled by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. While the tracker says that 8.5% of Americans have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only 2.1% have received two doses. So far during the pandemic, over 450,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and 26 million have tested positive, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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