President Biden sought to send the message this week that the nation is in a new phase of the pandemic when he strode away from a podium outside the White House without a mask after announcing guidance that the vaccinated no longer need face coverings when outdoors.
But days later, Biden was spotted with a mask while walking outside to Marine One with first lady Jill Biden, even though both have been vaccinated and no others were around.
The president again donned a mask at a Georgia drive-in rally while his wife spoke a few feet away, despite nobody else being on stage.
Biden has strived to set an example for Americans by wearing a mask in public frequently during his first months in office, pleading with the public that it was a key tool to end the pandemic. But health experts say the country is reaching a tipping point where Biden now must alter his behavior to reflect how vaccines can lead to a return to normal.
“I actually think it would do so much good for the president to be modeling at this point the really critical times when people should be wearing a mask, and letting people know here is the benefit of the vaccine: You don’t need to be wearing a mask during these other times,” said Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.
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