In a back and forth with a Fox News reporter, the Press Secretary insisted that the timing of recent changes to mask-wearing requirements came at the direction of medical experts, not politicians.
During a press briefing on Friday, Psaki was asked by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy about the timing of the CDC's announcement the day before, wherein they stated that vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in certain situations. "Did somebody ... in the Biden administration update this guidance for political reasons?", Doocy asked.
Psaki's answer was simple; "No."
She went on to say that CDC director Dr. Walensky and the rest of her team have been "constantly reviewing the data to ensure that they can provide accurate and up to date guidance to the American people."
Dr. Walensky answered questions in a press conference yesterday following the CDC's announcement, in which she stated that they "follow the science" when making their decisions. She mentioned that "[COVID-19] can be unpredictable, so if things get worse, there is always a chance we need to make a change to these recommendations."
Back in March, President Biden said that Texas and Mississippi opening up their states, rejecting mask mandates was "neanderthal thinking." Doocy mentioned that fact to Psaki, to which she responded that "the guidance is not telling states and localities exactly how they should implement", adding that certain states and regions were further along when it came to vaccinating their populations.
Doocy pointed out that the timing seemed odd, since "only 45.6% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated ... and only 58.9% of the adult population has at least one dose." Psaki responded by stating that the administration's north star has been "listening to the guidance of ... medical and health experts and teams."