The White House on Thursday signaled that it would be open to lockdowns and school closures if such policies were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When asked at the White House about whether lockdowns or closures are a possibility, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre suggested that if CDC and other experts recommend that, they would follow their guidelines.
“Well, we listen to, like I said, we listen to the CDC and the expert[s] and their guidance … you know, the CDC is a body that is very well respected,” she said in response. “And again, we follow their guidance.”
Jean-Pierre added: “Well, because we listen to the scientists, we listened to the expert[s] … This is a public health situation. This is not about politics at all. This is about saving lives. And this is what the president is all about.”
President Joe Biden on Thursday said that federal workers other than U.S. Postal Workers and contractors will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or wear masks, or they will have to engage in social distancing and routine COVID-19 tests. The new rules, according to the White House, are being imposed due to the Delta COVID-19 variant, which some public health officials have said is more contagious.
Earlier in the week, the CDC issued guidance saying that mask-wearing should be mandated among unvaccinated and vaccinated people in high-transmission areas. The agency also said children, upon returning to school, should wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
During Biden’s announcement, the president did not make any mention of possible school closures or lockdowns—nor did the CDC in its updated masking guidance.
Later during Thursday’s press conference, Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration wants to see all schools open in the fall.
“Well, we’re going to continue to work closely, as we have, with local governments, with the teachers, as we’ve done and continue to have those conversations,” she said. “I want to add, though, that nearly 90 percent of teachers are currently vaccinated. That’s a good sign. Now, we just have to make sure we also protect our kids in school, we protect the other administrators at school, people who are immunocompromised, and that’s why the CDC put out that guidance making sure people are wearing masks in schools.”
About 60 percent of American adults have been fully vaccinated to date. Biden had set a July 4 goal to get at least one COVID-19 shot in 70 percent of adults. The latest figure is about 69 percent.
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment on the possibility of lockdowns.