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10 Feb, 2022 12:44

Lawmakers take heat for flip-flopping on mask mandates

It’s typical for the Democrats to “follow political science instead of the actual science,” a Republican congresswoman insisted
Lawmakers take heat for flip-flopping on mask mandates

Republican lawmakers have slammed their Democratic opponents for suddenly speaking in favor of lifting mask mandates, especially in schools, saying that the switch is just an attempt to boost their chances in the midterm elections.

Democrat-led New Jersey, New York, California, Oregon, Connecticut, and Delaware announced plans to roll back their mask requirements on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Illinois soon expected to join them.

The issue has been a major bone of contention between the two rival American parties during the pandemic. The Democrats have always defended face coverings as an essential measure to stop the spread of Covid-19, while the Republicans insist that the measure is of little use, especially for students, who face a much lesser risk of serious coronavirus infection due to their young age.

“I’d love to see whatever internal polling went around the Democrat Party last week – it’s certainly no coincidence that Democrat-run states are dropping mandates as fast as they can,” Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., told the Daily Mail about the plans by Democratic governors to lift their mask requirements.

Hern was fully backed by Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., who claimed that “the Democrats continually follow the political science instead of the actual science.”

“We've known for months that masking has been detrimental to our children. The science hasn't changed in the last several months, the only change has been the overwhelming uproar over government mandates,” she said.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz, said it was “no surprise” that the Democrats have now decided to give up on mask mandates. “They had every intention of using Covid mandates to their advantage – especially when it comes to the polls – and have perfected playing politics in our everyday lives.”

However, Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., suggested that the switch will likely be too little, too late. “Democrats forced masks on kids for two years and now they're hoping that the rest of America will suddenly forget.”

The midterm elections, scheduled to take place in the US in November, are expected to be a tough test for the Democratic Party. Last month, a poll by Gallup revealed that 47% of Americans identified themselves as Republicans, compared to 42% as Democrats. The news figures contradicted the historic trend of Democrats outnumbering GOP supporters in the country.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said earlier this week that the number of cases and hospitalization in the US was still “too high” to think about lifting Covid-19 restrictions, adding that it continued to endorse universal masking in schools.

On Tuesday, CNN’s medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen, who has always been a strong supporter of mask mandates, urged the CDC to follow the example of the Democratic states and lift the curbs.

“The CDC has already lost a lot of trust and credibility. This is their time to rebuild and remove restrictions as quickly as they were put in,” she argued.

Wen defended her new stance on face coverings by claiming that “circumstances have changed. Case counts are declining. Also, the science has changed.”

She faced a harsh backlash online, with prominent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was among the critics, insisting that behavior like Wen’s was the reason behind the public loss of trust in what the medical experts have to say.