US President Joe Biden spoke to reporters outside of the White House Thursday following the CDC’s announcement, to applaud vaccinated citizens and encourage those who have not yet received the jab.
“The CDC is saying they have concluded that fully vaccinated people are at a very low risk of getting COVID-19, therefore if you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” he said, but added that those who are in-between receiving shots or have not yet reached the two week mark also need to remain masked.
"I think it’s a great milestone, a great day.”
Biden praised vaccination efforts across the country, but emphasized that the pandemic was not complete, saying that the goal is to have 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4. Until that goal has been reached, Biden encouraged those not yet vaccinated to continue to wear a mask.
— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) May 13, 2021
“The safest thing for the country is everyone needs to get vaccinated,” Biden said during the address, encouraging individuals 12 years and above to find a place closest to them to get vaccinated, for free without an appointment.
When asked about whether or not his administration would enforce the wearing of a mask, Biden assured the public that arrests would not be made, but that it was for the protection of all that those who were not vaccinated to wear a mask.
“Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” Biden said. “If you’re fully vaccinated and can take your mask off, you earned the right to do something Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile.”
Biden wore a bare face during his briefing, as the White House made its own official announcement allowing vaccinated individuals to go maskless. However, Biden's newfound declaration in support of the CDC's new masking guidance wasn't warmly accepted by all members of the press pool.