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Sunday, 19 September 2021

Drama in Congress as mask mandates return

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Drama in Congress as mask mandates return
Drama in Congress as mask mandates return

Tempers flared in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday after its chief physician urged lawmakers to resume wearing masks to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, with the top Democrat labeling Republican opposition as "moronic" as masks and other measures to control COVID return to daily life in the U.S. This report produced by Garay Gavino.

"This is just about more control." House Republicans bristled at new guidance from the Capitol physician Wednesday mandating mask wearing.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and many of his fellow Republicans refused to mask up: "We are vaccinated, we're not a hotspot, but they're forcing you to wear a mask, not in the Senate, but in the House." This after the CDC on Tuesday said vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission, due to the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant.

A high-level aide for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republican opposition was quote “moronic” after a report based off of garbled audio said Pelosi called McCarthy a “moron.” Pelosi later downplayed the moment.

REPORTER: “Is Kevin McCarthy a moron, and if so - why?” PELOSI: “I said in my earlier comments, science, science, and science… To say that wearing a mask is not based on science I think is not wise and that was my comment.

And that is all I am going to say about that.” The move to re-mask in Congress comes the same day The White House told federal employees working in areas with substantial or high COVID community spread to mask up indoors, regardless of vaccination status, according to an email seen by Reuters.

As cases rise in the U.S., New York state and California said their employees would soon need to be fully vaccinated to return to work or get tested regularly.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: "President Biden has reported that he's going to announce soon that all federal employees must be vaccinated or get tested.

New York State is doing the same.” That announcement is expected to come on Thursday, when the president is expected to roll out further mandates as part of a more aggressive campaign to control the spread of COVID.