“If you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks who are unvaccinated, let’s say you’re a parent like me who has young children at home who are not vaccinated, that’s a circumstance where we’re being extra cautious and wearing that mask even if you’re fully vaccinated, wearing it outside, when you’re in indoor public locations, is an extra step to protecting those at home,” Murthy said Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC.
His comments came amid a discussion on mask-wearing for vaccinated individuals as an “extra step” to protect against the virus.
Conservatives voiced their outrage at the suggestion, including Rep. Andy Biggs, who responded to the comment on Twitter that, “there are no words.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance on Tuesday for vaccinated people over the threat of the delta variant of the virus, and is now urging people in some areas of the country with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission to mask up indoors.
Some Democratic leaders have pushed for reimposing mask mandates in response to the update, including in Washington, D.C., where all residents will be required to mask up indoors starting Saturday at 5 a.m.
The renewed calls for mask mandates have sparked the ire of conservatives, with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones slamming Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for issuing an indoor mask mandate.
“Keisha Lance Bottoms will let thugs burn down Atlanta, gun each other down in the street, and refuse to do a damn thing. But when the CDC says jump, she says how high and rushes to impose a mask mandate. NO,” Jones tweeted Wednesday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also shut down a request this week from the San Antonio mayor and a judge to enforce mask requirements in schools and government buildings.
“The time for government mask mandates is over—now is the time for personal responsibility,” Abbott tweeted Tuesday. “In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.”