The “midterms” variant of COVID-19 seems to be growing in strength, given the recent rule change at the U.S. Capitol just two days before President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.
According to Axios, the Capitol physician announced Sunday evening that masks are no longer required to be worn anywhere in the Capitol complex, with many hoping that the optics of what will look like normal business at the Capitol will help Dems in their public relations damage control campaign, as most Americans are frustrated and tired of confusing masking rules.
In an attempt to justify the decision, Capitol physician Brian P. Monahan cited a trending drop in new COVID cases, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make the announcement.
“The Washington DC region is now in the ‘green level’ or low level in this new CDC schema allowing for reduction in coronavirus prevention measures such as coronavirus testing frequency and indoor mask wear,” Dr. Monahan wrote in a memo to Capitol staffers.
Monahan stressed that while the masking rule has been dropped, for now, members of Congress and their staffers may still choose to wear a mask for personal safety reasons, but stressed that it’s no longer a requirement.
He also cited the latest statistics that indicated the “Capitol testing center’s test positive rate has dropped to a 7-day average of 2.7%, down from 13% at the start of the year,” Axios noted.
However, those who’ve tested positive for COVID or who have recently exhibited any symptoms should still don a mask to protect others, stressing that in such a case, they should choose KN95 or N95 masks.
The physician went on to note that nothing has changed with isolation or quarantine rules.
Republicans pile on
The sudden rule change, just hours before Biden’s highly-anticipated SOTU address, sparked criticism from a number of high-profile Republicans, who insist that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is no longer using science to guide such decisions.
If you were still asking whether it was the Science OR the Politics driving Pelosi’s decisions, now you know!
Pelosi’s mask mandate was never about the science, it was always about the politics. Just like her new border wall around the Capitol is all about the politics. https://t.co/i2Z32Lullm
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) February 28, 2022
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (IN) added that while the speaker has dropped masking rules at the Capitol, American schoolchildren across the country are still being forced to mask up.
“Speaker Pelosi dropped the mask mandates for politicians at the Capitol. But her Democrat friends still mask your kids in school,” the GOP lawmaker tweeted.