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President Biden’s Mask Use Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

President Biden briefly wore a mask following his wife's COVID-19 diagnosis. Explore the evolving COVID-19 precautions and implications for his upcoming trip.

President Biden's Mask Use

President Joe Biden briefly donned a mask for the first time in months after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. However, he removed it during an event honoring an 81-year-old Vietnam veteran, Captain Larry Taylor, with whom he shared a handshake. The White House had earlier announced that Biden would wear a mask indoors but might remove it when maintaining a distance from others.

This situation reflects the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 precautions in a post-emergency period. While mask mandates have ended in many places, the virus continues to spread, and hospitalizations are on the rise. To combat this, doctors are gearing up for a new round of vaccinations when a booster becomes available next month.

Biden’s recent travel history includes a trip to Florida with his wife to inspect hurricane damage, followed by time at their Delaware beach house and a solo trip to a union event in Philadelphia. The president is set to leave for the Group of 20 summit in India shortly and plans to undergo another COVID test before departure.

The duration of Biden’s unmasked interaction with Capt. Taylor exceeded the 15-minute guideline that the CDC uses to assess COVID-19 transmission risk during casual contact. Hospitalizations for COVID have risen from 6,000 a week at the start of the summer to over 15,000 as of August 19, according to federal data. However, 96% of the country is experiencing low COVID hospitalization rates, according to the CDC. The percentage of U.S. deaths attributed to COVID also increased slightly to 2% in late August.

The CDC recommends that those infected with COVID isolate themselves for at least five days and wear high-quality masks indoors around others. Uninfected individuals should avoid contact with the infected person or, if necessary, wear high-quality masks, practice good hand hygiene, and employ other infection-prevention measures.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Biden would follow CDC protocols, wearing masks indoors and testing as needed. If the president were to test positive for COVID, he would have to cancel his trip to India, Vietnam, and a military base in Alaska. White House officials declined to speculate about contingency plans, but National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned the possibility of virtual participation in events.

Claire Goul
Claire Goul
If you want all the tech related stuff dumb downed for you, Claire Goul is your go to person. She is a technology aficionado. She is currently studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and writes about what is hot, new and fresh in the astonishing world of gadgets.
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