US President Joe Biden on Wednesday criticised the Texas and Mississippi administrations for rolling back the mask-mandate. “The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it,’” Biden told Reuters. Biden added that while increasing the availability of vaccinations is helping to curb the virus, people should continue to remain cautious. Texas Governor Greg Abbot, on Tuesday, also authorised businesses to reopen with 100 per cent capacity.
In the meantime, the Biden administration on Tuesday said that the US would have COVID-19 vaccinations for all adults by end of May. The country has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, with a death toll of more than 519,000. Former president’s Trump administration’s take on the pandemic was diametrically opposite to recommendations by immunologists and scientists. Trump at one point even compared COVID-19 to the flu and was pro reopening schools as early as after Easter 2020.
Texas, where the virus has claimed more than 43,00 people, residents welcomed roll-back on the mask-mandate. Just about 7 per cent of the population has been vaccinated in the state, which was recently affected by a severe cold storm. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves wrote on Twitter, “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."
So far, 15.3 per cent of the US’ population has been vaccinated. Biden has asked people to continue wearing masks. Michigan is set to ease capacity limits on restaurants, and public and residential gatherings. South Carolina, too, has removed limits on large gatherings.