President Joe Biden would “certainly support” states if they re-impose lockdowns over COVID-19, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday.
When asked by a reporter whether the White House would reimpose such restrictions, Psaki deferred to the states.
“We certainly support their decisions to implement measures that they think will help their community safe [sic],” she said. “States are going to have to make evaluations and local communities are going to have to make evaluations about what is in their interest.”
Noting that there are different rates of vaccination in certain locales, Psaki said that the vaccination rate in the United States, for adults aged 27 and older, is at nearly 70 percent.
Federal officials have been issuing warnings about the Delta COVID-19 variant that has been spreading throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that more than half of all COVID-19 cases are caused by the variant, prompting concerns that various state, local, and federal agencies would implement more restrictions.
So far, few, if any, municipal governments have issued new restrictions over the Delta variant. Several days ago, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health called on residents to wear face masks despite their vaccination status.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended that people wear face coverings, and some countries—including Israel and the UK—have either extended or reimposed lockdowns due to the Delta variant.
However, the recommendations that vaccinated people wear masks and reports of “breakthrough” cases in vaccinated individuals have triggered concerns that the COVID-19 vaccines aren’t working. Early research from Israel released by the country’s health ministry suggests that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is less effective against the Delta variant.
Psaki told reporters, in response to the Israeli data, that the findings are “preliminary” and asserted that the “vast majority of data from larger assessments and larger studies shows that [the vaccine] is quite effective.”
Meanwhile, Psaki and President Joe Biden both announced Tuesday that the administration would be sending teams of people “door-to-door” to provide information to people about vaccines. This federal effort, they said, would target areas with relatively low vaccination rates.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration’s efforts will include “community door-to-door outreach to get remaining Americans vaccinated.” Neither she nor Biden provided any more details including where, when, what kind of questions would be asked, or how long the effort would last.
The announcement drew significant pushback from conservative commentators, who described it as a possible violation of Americans’ right to privacy.