Biden, CDC Urge Legislators to Maintain COVID-19 Mask Mandates Amid Rising Cases

March 29, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

Cases have increased by 16%, while 50 million have now been fully vaccinated. Federal leadership is asking Americans to hold on longer.

President Joseph Biden is urging local and state legislators to maintain mask-wearing mandates—and to restore them in the few states where they have already been lifted—at a time when COVID-19 has begun to spread more quickly.

The President’s address on continued pandemic measures Monday came hours after US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky, MD, expressed fear that reasonable hope for COVID-19 management may be harmed by laxed masking and social distancing.

“I am asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends,” Walensky said.

At the time of the comments from federal leadership, the nation is simultaneously reporting surging COVID-19 vaccination rates, and rising new daily cases. As of this week, the US had surpassed 50 million fully-vaccinated adults, with plans to open vaccine access to all eligible adults in early April

But the US is also reporting an approximate 16% rise in 7-day average of new daily cases as of Monday, after having just reached a 5-month low average of approximately 54,000 earlier this month.

Earlier today, the CDC reported new data showing Pfizer-BioNTech’s BNT162b2 and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 were associated with a 90% real-world efficacy in preventing COVID-19 14 days following the second dose.

The continually sound real-world data associated with the mRNA vaccines, and their greater rollout alongside Janssen Pharmaceutical’s single-shot adenovirus vaccine, warrants hope that the country could realistically mitigate the spread and burden of COVID-19 within this year. But that has not yet been the case—and laxes in protocol could prolong that endpoint, and cost more lives in the meantime.

“I know you all so badly want to be done,” Walensky said. “We are just almost there, but not quite yet.”