On Wednesday at the White House, President Joe Biden clowned on Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both of whom are Republicans, over their decisions to lift statewide mask-wearing mandates and restrictions on business operations that were meant to stem the spread of COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died, and although the vaccine distribution process is well underway, there are months to go — but nevertheless, authorities in Texas and Mississippi have moved to end attempts to help keep people alive, even with widespread vaccine availability just a little ways in the future.
Biden referred to the ending mandates in Texas and Mississippi as the products of “Neanderthal thinking.” As he put it, discussing the developments:
‘I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everyone’s realized by now — these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms. We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every adult American to get a shot. The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask and forget it. It still matters… We will not have everybody vaccinated until sometime in the summer… and it’s critical — critical, critical, critical — that they follow the science.’
Watch Biden’s comments below:
NEW: President Biden calls Texas and Mississippi decisions to end mask mandates “a big mistake" and criticizes what he views as “Neanderthal thinking” after CDC warned against complacency in the face of emerging coronavirus variants on Monday. pic.twitter.com/Mmdln3gNG6
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 3, 2021
As he mentioned, the U.S. is on track to have enough vaccines to cover every adult American by the end of May, although there’s a difference between having enough vaccines on hand and actually getting those vaccines to the people who need them, and the logistical process of rolling out the vaccines could stretch into the summer. There’s also the lingering issue of public resistance to the vaccine, and according to recent polling from Civiqs, hesitancy surrounding the vaccine is highest, by a lot, among white Republicans. In the numbers, a full 56 percent of white Republican respondents indicated hesitancy towards the vaccine.
According to recently revealed info, ex-President Donald Trump himself was actually vaccinated for COVID-19 while still in office — but he didn’t publicly announce this step at the time. Throughout the pandemic, Trump has spread distrust of the basic science surrounding the situation to the point that he, like other Republicans, described so-called lockdown measures against COVID-19 as some kind of threat to freedom.