The Corner

White House

No, Really, Why Is Joe Biden Wearing His Mask Around Other Vaccinated People?

President Joe Biden meets with (from left) Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office of the White House, May 12, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In the Oval Office today, while doing a brief appearance before the cameras, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi all wore masks and sat very deliberately spaced apart — if not six feet apart, then as close to that distance as possible.

Every elected official in that room was vaccinated months ago and is considered fully vaccinated. Their immune systems are as prepared for an encounter with SARS-CoV-2 as they can get. Yes, McConnell, Biden and Pelosi are getting up in years. But the CDC itself states, “preliminary data from Israel suggest that people vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine who develop COVID-19 have a four-fold lower viral load than unvaccinated people. This observation may indicate reduced transmissibility, as viral load has been identified as a key driver of transmission.”

Biden was asked about this late last week, and the president answered, “when we’re inside, it’s still good policy to wear the mask.”

You often hear the argument, “Biden wears a mask to set an example.” Okay, an example for whom? Which Americans are going to start acting recklessly if they see Biden in an Oval Office meeting without his mask? Who is the anti-masker out there who’s going to change his mind because Biden keeps wearing his mask, five months after getting his second shot?

What message does it send, seeing four of the highest-ranking officials in our government, all fully vaccinated months ago, all more than six feet away from the pool reporters, photographers and camera crew, all still wearing their masks as if their vaccinations changed nothing?

Is the mentality really that because one of the White House staffers, pool reporters, photographers and camera crew might not be fully vaccinated, it’s not safe for Biden or anyone else in that room to take off their masks?

When will it be considered safe for Joe Biden to be unmasked in the Oval Office? Will it ever?

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