White House won't rule out future lockdowns, school closures if CDC says so

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White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the Biden administration will continue to “listen to the scientists” when it comes to potential future lockdowns and school closures.

During the daily White House press briefing, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre why Americans should “trust” what the administration says when the official line has changed so much over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.   

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“President Biden says that we are not returning to lockdowns, shutdowns and school closures,” Doocy said, “but he also once said that we didn’t have to wear masks anymore once we were vaccinated. So why should Americans trust him now?”

“Well, because we listen to the scientists, we listen to the experts,” Jean-Pierre responded. “This is a public health situation. This is not about politics at all, this is about saving lives. And this is what the president is all about. He wants to make sure that we are saving lives. If you look at, Peter, the last six months, that’s what he’s done every day and you see that in the numbers. 

“Now, we’re at a point where we have to double down and make it very, very clear to people that we can’t let the pandemic win. We have to continue to fight,” she added.

Doocy pressed Jean-Pierre on future closures, asking if the administration would support new lockdowns if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it.

“Well, like I said, we listen to the CDC and the experts and their guidance,” she responded. “The CDC is a body that is very well respected, and again, we follow their guidance.”

Jean-Pierre was also asked to weigh in on comments Wednesday by American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who said during an appearance on MSNBC that they’re going to “try” to open up schools after the CDC suggested universal masking in schools.

“Is that good enough for the president? Just trying?” Doocy asked Jean-Pierre.

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Jean-Pierre said the administration hopes to see all schools open by the fall.

“Well, we’re going to continue to work closely, as we have, with local governments, with the teachers, as we’ve done and continue to have those conversations,” she answered. “I want to add, though, that nearly 90% of teachers are currently vaccinated. That’s a good sign. Now, we just have to make sure we also protect our kids in school, we protect the other administrators at school, people who are immunocompromised, and that’s why the CDC put out that guidance making sure people are wearing masks in schools.”

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