The states of Texas and Mississippi’s decision to drop the masking requirement has met harsh criticism from President Joe Biden.
“The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking,” he told reporters in the White House. Face masks still matter, is his message to the southern states.
American states can determine much of their health policy themselves. Several states are relaxing their lockdown measures, but Texas is going the furthest. That state with 29 million inhabitants is ending all corona measures, including the mandatory mask, Governor Greg Abbott said on Tuesday.
He acknowledged that the virus has not been defeated but pointed out the millions of Texans already vaccinated, the stockpile of protective equipment and the many testing options.
About one in six Americans have now received at least one corona vaccine dose, but people are still becoming infected. The death toll from the virus is also still increasing, and it is now more than 518,000.
According to Biden, enough vaccines have been purchased to vaccinate all adult Americans by the end of May. He takes the fight against the coronavirus considerably more seriously than his predecessor Trump.