Joe Biden had harsh words for the governors of Mississippi and Texas, accusing them of ‘Neanderthal thinking’ after reopening their states for business and rescinding mask bans amid the COVID pandemic.
President Joe Biden didn’t mince words during a March 3 press availability, where he was asked about Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi reopening all businesses and dropping mandatory face mask requirements while the COVID-19 pandemic is still active. Biden still wears a mask even though he’s been vaccinated against COVID-19, and told reporters that the politicians are guilty of “Neanderthal thinking” by going back to life as folks knew it prior to the pandemic.
“I think it’s a big mistake. I hope everyone realizes by now these masks make a difference. We’re on the cusp of being able to change the nature of this disease in the way we’ve been able to get vaccines in people’s arms,” Biden began, and noted that by the end of May there should be enough supply on hand for every American to get the shot.
“The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” Biden stressed. He even revealed that he carries a card in his coat pocket with the daily death toll in the U.S. from COVID, noting that as of yesterday, 511,874 Americans had died from the pandemic.
Biden pleaded with citizens to still follow COVID-19 protocols, despite what some might be hearing from their politicians. “It’s critical — critical, critical, critical — that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it,” he told reporters.
Gov. Reeves fired back at Biden’s “Neanderthal thinking” comment by tweeting, “President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is ‘Neanderthal thinking. Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”
Abbott tweeted on March 2, “I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%. EVERYTHING. I also ended the statewide mask mandate.” He then cited his reasoning, which included, “More than 7 million vaccinations will be given by next week. We do about 1 million a week. We gave 216,000 shots today alone. More than 50% of the seniors will be vaccinated. Hospitalizations & the positivity rate are lowest in 4 months.” He also added, “All Texans know the safe practices.” But the question is will they follow them?
Late on March 3, the Austin Statesman newspaper reported that Abbott’s health advisers were blindsided by his decision to open the state and drop the mask requirement. The publication reported that “three of the four state health experts on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott‘s Strike Force to Open Texas were not consulted before he lifted the statewide mask mandate.” Abbott’s decision to take public health matters into his own hands and reopening the state also comes as Houston on March 2 became the first U.S. city to record the presence of every major COVID variant — 28 in all — which are more contagious and quicker to spread. But hey, masks are a personal decision now in Texas.
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