Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Biden calls on states to reinstate mask mandates as CDC warns of possible COVID-19 surge

President Biden is calling on states to reinstate mask mandates following a dire warning from the CDC about the possibility of a new surge in COVID-19 cases.

Biden on Monday said "this is not a time to lessen our efforts" in the COVID-19 pandemic, adding he agrees with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky's comments earlier in the day after she expressed a feeling "of impending doom" about COVID-19 cases ticking up in the United States.

"Our work is far from over," Biden said. "The war against COVID-19 is far from won. This is deadly serious ... If we let our guard down now, we could see a virus getting worse, not better."

Biden also criticized "some of the reckless behavior we've seen on television over the past few weeks," saying it's a "very bad thing" that "people are letting up on precautions," and he called on states that have lifted their mask mandates to reinstate them.

"Please, this is not politics," Biden said. "Reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And businesses should require mask as well. The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place."

The CDC previously warned against states rolling back COVID-19 restrictions too soon, and Walensky on Monday emotionally pleaded with Americans to "just please hold on a little while longer," adding, "We must work together now to prevent a fourth surge."