US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (local time) called Texas and Mississippi's decision to lift the mask mandate as "Neanderthal thinking".
Replying to questions on Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi's decision to relax COVID-19 restrictions, Biden said, "Texas -- I think it's a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody has realized by now: These masks make a difference."
He further said, "We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we're able to get vaccines in people's arms. We've been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American to get -- every adult American to get a shot. And the last thing -- the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off your mask."
While reiterating the necessity of wearing masks, the President said, "It's critical - critical, critical, critical - that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it."
According to a report by CNN, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had announced he is lifting the state's mask mandate and allowing businesses to open at 100 per cent capacity beginning on March 10, despite health officials' warnings.
On March 3, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said in a tweet, "Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!"
According to the latest data by the Johns Hopkins University, the US has recorded 28,771,556 cases of coronavirus and 518,900 deaths till now.