The White House says it is beginning to prepare for the next less-restrictive phase of the pandemic response amid growing impatience for the federal government to ease up.
Even Democratic states are moving to roll back mask mandates in a push toward post-COVID-19 normalcy. White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday that officials have started consultations with state and local leaders and public health officials "on steps we should be taking to keep the country moving forward."
His comments come as states have moved to ease restrictions and guide the nation back toward life unencumbered by the virus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “As we’ve been encouraged by the current trends, we are not there yet.” Walensky said, “We are working on that guidance.”
President Biden's hesitance is said to be connected to his "declaration of independence," from the virus last summer, which experts have said was premature ahead of the emergence of the delta and omicron variant outbreaks of the virus, as the Associated Press reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden's caution saying, “As a federal government we have the responsibility to rely on data on science, on the medical experts.”