Household physician reinstates masks mandate amid the unfold of the Delta variant within the USA
The US house is reinstating its mask mandate as the Delta variant turns out to be the dominant strain of Covid across the country and given the new guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the house’s doctor announced on Tuesday known.
The re-establishment of the mask mandate by the House of Representatives follows the CDC’s new recommendation on Tuesday that both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans in areas with “high” or “significant” Covid-19 transmission should wear masks indoors again.
“All office buildings in the house, the hall of the house, and house committee meetings require that a well-fitting, medical-grade filter face mask be worn when one person is in an indoor area and other people are present,” said Dr. Brian Monahan wrote in a memo.
Members of the House and their staff must wear face-covering in the Chamber unless Members are recognized and speaking on the floor.
Legislators are prohibited from entering the House of Representatives Chamber without a mask, and fines will be imposed on those who do not wear a mask in the House of Representatives Chamber.
Face covering is also required for meetings in an “enclosed” house “controlled space”.
Masks will be made available at the entrances to the House of Representatives Chamber and will be made available at committee meetings for those who need one.
“For the Congress, which is a collection of people who travel weekly from different risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), everyone should wear a well-fitting medical filter mask (e.g. a KN95 mask) when they are are in an interior, ”wrote Monahan.
Mask rules in the House of Representatives – and across the country – have become a political hotspot, and House Top Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy has pushed back Tuesday’s directive as a sign of possible further clashes.
When asked Wednesday about McCarthy’s criticism of the mask reinstatement, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said, “He’s such an idiot.”
As recently as last month, the US House of Representatives dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals, due to the decline in community transmission and the increase in vaccination rates, a senior Democratic adviser told CNN at the time.
But last week, Monahan had warned Congress about the Delta variant and at the same time found that “several vaccinated members of the Congress” had tested positive for coronavirus.
Pelosi’s office confirmed the same day that a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the speaker’s press office tested positive after coming into contact with a group of Texas state Democrats who had traveled to Washington, DC to block restrictive electoral laws . At least six of those Texan lawmakers who claim to be fully vaccinated have tested positive for Covid.
So-called breakthrough cases of Covid are rare in people who are fully vaccinated, and vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself from hospitalization and death. 99.5% of deaths from Covid are unvaccinated, according to the CDC.
CNN’s Jessica Dean and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.