White House criticizes policy in Florida, Texas blocking masks

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on resistant Republican governors to “get out of the way” of vaccine rules aimed at containing the more transmissible and dangerous COVID-19 variant. He backed city and private mandates requiring people to be vaccinated to go about some daily activities.

Speaking from the White House, Biden sharply criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other officials who have moved to block the reimposition of mask mandates to slow the delta strain of the virus. The strain is surging in their states and other parts of the country that have large numbers of unvaccinated people.

“If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing,” Biden said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized policies in states such as Texas and Florida that have moved to block employers and proprietors from implementing mask or vaccine requirements to curb the coronavirus.

Those two states are among several facing surging cases from the delta variant. “I think the fundamental question we have is, ‘what are we doing here?’” Psaki asked.

Biden planned to speak Tuesday about U.S. strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus at home and abroad, noting that “we’re all in this together.”

Earlier, the White House announced the U.S. had shipped more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries.

Biden has promised the U.S. will be the “arsenal of vaccines” for the world, and it has shipped the most vaccines abroad of any donor nation. While notable, the 110 million doses donated largely through a vaccine program known as COVAX represent a fraction of what is needed globally.

The White House says the U.S. will begin shipping half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine it has pledged to about 100 low-income countries at the end of August.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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