“Not scientific” vs “Totally stupid”
The US is again embroiled in the ‘mask debate’. The Joe Biden administration announced on the 27th (local time) that in areas where the spread of COVID-19 is spreading, even those who have been vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and in public. It seems that each region has come up with contradictory responses according to their political inclinations, spreading into the political realm.
28일 USA 투데이 등 외신에 따르면 민주당 낸시 펠로시 하원의장은 이날 차량에 탑승하던 중 공화당 케빈 매카시 하원 원내대표를 “정말 멍청하다”고 비난했다. 앞서 매카시 원내대표가 트위터에 “마스크를 다시 쓰라는 지침은 과학에 근거한 게 아니라 영원히 팬데믹에서 살기를 바라는 여당 정치인들의 결정”이라고 비판한 것에 대한 응수였다. 이에 매카시는 CNN과의 인터뷰에서 “펠로시가 그렇게 똑똑하다면 과학이 의회에서 어떻게 상원과 하원의 차이를 만드는지 알고 싶다”고 맞대응했다.
미 질병통제예방센터(CDC)의 마스크 착용 권고에 반기를 든 건 매카시뿐만이 아니다. NYT에 따르면 공화당 소속 주지사들도 CDC의 지침이 발표되자 일제히 반박 성명을 발표했다.
Nine states including Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas, including Texas and Florida, which are called Republican gardens, all announced that they could not accept the CDC guidelines. “The mandatory wearing of masks is an attack on freedom,” local governors said. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds refuted the CDC guidelines as “common sense,” and Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, “The days of mandatory government masks are over.” Some states have also passed laws that make it impossible for schools to wear masks.
On the other hand, California, Missouri, Nevada, and Los Angeles, where the transmission of COVID-19 is at a dangerous level, accepted the CDC guidelines and immediately restored the mandatory wearing of indoor masks. Nevada governor Steve Sisolak, who is a member of the Democratic Party, ordered that “people with high transmission rates, including Las Vegas and Clark County, wear a mask indoors, even if they have been vaccinated,” immediately after the CDC’s announcement.
Among private companies, Apple has decided to follow CDC guidelines. Apple announced on the same day that it was compulsory for all office workers to wear a mask. He also said that most stores in the United States make it compulsory for both employees and visitors to wear masks. In addition, Google, Netflix, and Ford have announced policies to recommend wearing a mask and make vaccination compulsory.
Regarding the conflicting reactions to the CDC guidelines, the New York Times said, “The CDC guidelines are not legally binding, so it is up to the state and local authorities to implement them.”
The Biden administration is likely to tighten its guidelines toward wearing a mask even if it encounters backlash. US President Joe Biden showed off his face mask again inside the White House on the same day. He posted on Twitter a picture of his meeting with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tihanovskaya at the White House, but it was the first time in over two months he wore a mask. It reads as a message to practice the new CDC’s mask wearing guidelines and follow them.
Reporter Lee Min-jung [email protected]