A top Biden administration medical adviser said Tuesday he did not know why COVID-19 cases continue decreasing in Texas after he and others harshly criticized the state’s governor for rolling back a mask mandate last month.
“It can be confusing because you may see a lag and a delay, because often, you have to wait a few weeks before you see the effect of what you’re doing right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of President Joe Biden’s top COVID-19 advisers, said during an appearance on MSNBC.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ended on March 10.
“There are a lot of things that go into that. I mean, when you say that they’ve had a lot of activity on the outside like ball games, I’m not really quite sure, it could be they’re doing things outdoors. It’s very difficult to just one on one compare that. You just have to see in the long range, I hope they continue to tick down. If they do, that would be great,” Fauci added.
“But there’s always that concern, when you pull back on methods, particularly things like indoor dining and bars that are crowded, you can see a delay, and then all of a sudden, tick right back up. We’ve been fooled before by situations where people begin to open up, nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, several weeks later, things start exploding on you. So we got to be careful. We don’t prematurely judge that.”
Fauci last month said the decision by the governors of Texas and Mississippi to end mandatory masking was “inexplicable.”
“I don’t know why they’re doing it, but from a public-health standpoint it’s certainly ill-advised,” he said during an appearance on CNN.
Biden called the moves the result of “Neanderthal thinking,” accusing the officials of ignoring science.
But both states have seen a continued decline in daily COVID-19 cases.
Commentators said Fauci’s latest remarks showed an unwillingness to admit when he’s wrong.
“This guy has been consistently wrong and has changed his tune multiple times. Anyone else would have been fired and stayed away from public life. Pride is deadly,” said actor Matthew Marsden on Twitter.
“Fascist Gnome, MD is running out of excuses for his prescribed lockdown tyranny,” Steve Cortes, a former President Donald Trump campaign adviser, said in a tweet.
The offices of Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves did not immediately respond to requests for comment.