Nebraska, Iowa governors oppose CDC mask guidance
Douglas County Health Department encouraging all to wear masks in public
(WOWT) - The governors of Nebraska and Iowa issued statements Tuesday afternoon after the CDC updated its guidance on masks.
Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC on Tuesday said it would now recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the COVID-19 delta variant is fueling infection surges.
It is also recommending indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds hung her criticism on the Biden administration, saying the new guidance is “not grounded in reality or common sense” and expressing concern it would be used “to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support.”
The governor did say the state would continue to encourage Iowans to vaccinate against COVID-19.
“The Biden Administration’s new COVID-19 guidance telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts, but also not grounded in reality or common sense. I’m concerned that this guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support.
“The vaccine remains our strongest tool to combat COVID-19, which is why we are going to continue to encourage everyone to get the vaccine.
“I am proud that we recently put new laws in place that will protect Iowans against unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments. As I have throughout this pandemic, I trust Iowans to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said flatly that the state would not be adopting CDC mask guidance. The governor said Tuesday’s announcement “only furthers the distrust many have with the CDC and does not help to encourage more people to get the vaccines.”
Ricketts said the CDC’s new guidance “flies in the face of the public health goals” before underscoring Nebraska’s focus on protecting hospital capacity.
“It’s time for the CDC and the government to get out of the way, and to stop trying to tell people how to live their lives,” he said.
The Douglas County Health Department responded to the CDC announcement in its daily update Tuesday afternoon, encouraging “everyone to wear a mask if you are in public.”
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert also encouraged residents to vaccinate eligible youth before the school year starts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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