Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical professional, suggested it may be time to repeal mask mandates (not because they are ineffective or because the risk has gone away), but to “maintain the public health board for when it is required again.”
Wen clarified she was not advocating for individuals to stop wearing masks, but rather governments should ease up and encourage people to make their own choices.
Wen claims people will be more receptive to following restrictions imposed by “public health officials” if they first regained some of their autonomy and freedom.
In the coming days, we will see many Governors and local leaders lift mask mandates. This is the right step, and marks a needed shift from government-imposed requirement to individual decision. It helps to preserve public health authority for when it’s needed again. @wolfblitzer pic.twitter.com/66zwIw6vgH
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) February 7, 2022
“You assert we may begin to lift certain coronavirus limitations,” anchor Wolf Blitzer started, adding, “Now, explain why?”
“Well, I concur with Colorado and a growing number of other municipal and state governments that are moving to eliminate government requirements,” Wen responded.
“I am not advocating for an end to masking, but it should transition from a government necessity to an individual choice.”
“The authorities can not continue to inform our folks this is a five-alarm fire all the time,” she continued, implying the move was motivated by human nature, as much as data availability.
“People will just tune it out and stop paying attention; they will get desensitized.”
Losing Credibility and Authority
If they keep pushing the populace too hard, public health officials will lose the ability to make new regulations if they keep making more dangerous variants.
Wen said what needs to happen is to end the national emergency and allow the ability of public health officials to create new rules for people in the future.
“Continue to apply pressure, y’all. It’s working,” Jennifer Van Laar, the managing editor of Red State, tweeted. “Also, elect candidates who will reform public health regulations because we cannot allow this nonsense to happen again.”
Many people have changed their states’ rules about wearing masks, but the new governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin (R), is the most well-known.
Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, and John Carney, the governor of Delaware, are both Democrats. They each plan to eliminate school masking rules in the next few weeks, which caused a reaction from White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday.
Psaki said the White House still recommends kids wear masks to school, as in line with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
She also said individual schools and local governments could set their own rules.
Reporter: "What does it say then that a governor like Phil Murphy, who's been so closely aligned with the policies of this administration, would get ahead of the medical experts?"
Jen Psaki: "It's always been up to school districts [on masking], that's always been our policy." pic.twitter.com/KCy58Xp70M
— The Hill (@thehill) February 7, 2022
Psaki reiterated that while mask mandates were always left to the districts, the federal government advocated adhering to the existing advice.
The reporter pushed back, asking if Psaki felt that Democrats’ decisions to repeal the requirements indicated a shift in public sentiment, thus warranting a change in federal rules as well.
Psaki stressed while she recognized that people were “weary of COVID,” the White House would not move ahead of the CDC.