Joe and Jill Biden have worn masks to walk their dog alone on a beach while on their Delaware vacation.
The Bidens – who are booster vaccinated – covered their faces for no apparent reason as they took their German Shepherd puppy, Commander, for a walk along a deserted Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday evening.
The President, 79, even continued to wear his mask after the First Lady, 70, took hers off.
It’s not clear who Biden believed he was protecting or who he felt he needed protection from as the only other people on the beach, the secret service, didn’t come within 10 yards.
When the couple were walking through the neighborhood, members of the secret service and the press were seen closer, within a couple of yards, however the risk of infection given they were outdoors was negligible.
It was while speaking to the press that Biden declared that he would impose a domestic vaccine travel requirement ‘when I get a recommendation from the medical team.’ The surge in Covid cases from the Omicron variant has made the White House reassess whether to impose it.
The President’s mask-wearing parade came just hours after Dr Anthony Fauci admitted there was an ‘extremely low’ risk of contracting Covid indoors after getting fully vaccinated, saying that he only continued to wear a mask to stop ‘giving mixed signals.’
Last week, the CDC updated its guidance to say that Americans who are fully vaccinated can safely go maskless indoors, or outdoors, with the exception of crowded indoor settings like planes.
Why the mask Joe? Biden is seen wearing a face covering while walking his new pup, Commander, on Rehoboth Beach in Delaware on Tuesday evening. It’s not clear who Biden believed he was protecting by wearing a mask or who he felt he needed protection from as the only other people on the beach, the secret service, didn’t come within 10 yards.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden both wearing masks on Tuesday evening took their new German Shepherd puppy Commander on a neighborhood walk near their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The risk of infection outdoors is so minimal that it is absurd to wear a mask outside, with the chances diminished even more by having received booster vaccines
Jill and Joe Biden toss a ball to each other as they take their dog Commander for a walk on the beach in Delaware
Biden plays with his new dog on Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday
Biden told reporters that the 15-week-old puppy is a rescue that was gifted to him by his brother last month for his 79th birthday
The president told reporters that he will make a decision on domestic vaccine requirements ‘when I get a recommendation from the medical team.’
The president plays fetch with the newest addition to the first family during some off-leash beach time December 28
Members of the secret service guarding the President and First Lady are seen spread out around them, there is no scientific reason to wear a mask in such a scenario
The change was long-awaited, and many U.S. leaders said it was overdue.
Dozens of states have lifted or updated their mask mandates to reflect the new guidance – including New York, where vaccinated people can go maskless starting tomorrow – but confusion has abounded, and some, like California, are keeping their requirements or the time being.
Despite the relaxing of mask rules, Fauci, Biden’s top health adviser, seemingly called for a vaccine mandate for air travelers on Sunday but quickly retracted his remarks the next day.
‘Everything that comes up as a possibility, we put it on the able and we consider it, that does not mean that it is likely to happen,’ Fauci clarified to CNN’s Jim Acosta on Monday.
‘I doubt if we’re going to see something like that in the reasonably foreseeable future,’ he added.
Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden was considering an array of options, but valuing the input of health and medical experts the most when she was asked about vaccine requirements for domestic air travel.
Fauci laughed off Acosta’s questions on Monday on whether there is conflict within the administration over whether to impose such a mandate.
‘It’s not a question of being in favor of it or not. I’m in favor of what we can do to keep the country safe,’ he said.
On Sunday, Fauci told Americans that removing masks on airplanes is ‘not something we should even be considering,’ while hundreds of flights in the U.S. continue to be canceled due to the spread of the Omicron variant across the country.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Fauci said: ”We want to make sure people keep their masks on. I think the idea of taking masks off, in my mind, is really not something we should even be considering.’
‘A vaccine requirement for a person getting on the plane is just another level of getting people to have a mechanism that would spur them to get vaccinated; namely, you can’t get on a plane unless you’re vaccinated, which is just another one of the ways of getting requirements, whatever that might be.’
‘So I mean, anything that could get people more vaccinated would be welcome. But with regard to the spread of virus in the country, I mean, I think if you look at wearing a mask and the filtration on planes, things are reasonably safe,’ he continued.
Joe and Jill are spending several days at their Rehoboth Beach vacation home in the days after Christmas
Biden chats to the press as he poses with his new puppy
Biden took commander off the leash to let him run around by the water Tuesday evening
The couple played with their new puppy as the sun set in Delaware. Biden wore a face mask for the entire outing despite only being with his wife and dog on the beach
Joe and Jill Biden walking their German Shepherd pup on Tuesday in Delaware
The Bidens walking the dog on the beach
The President pauses to speak with the press as he takes the new dog for a walk
Biden plays with the dog as the First Lady looks on
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk their dog Commander on the beach in Rehoboth Beach
Meanwhile, the president also told reporters during his stroll on Tuesday evening that there has been ‘a bit of progress’ toward the administration’s goal of producing and distributing at-home COVID testing kits amid nationwide shortages.
The administration has pledged that all Americans will be able to acquire an at-home rapid test for coronavirus after previously ruling it out.
Biden insisted to reporters that he was on the phone for most of Tuesday working despite a blank public schedule and spending the days following the Christmas holiday away from Washington, D.C.
He is also facing criticism for his response to the most contagious variant yet of COVID.
Biden and Jill on Tuesday evening took Commander on a walk along the beach and through the neighborhood near their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach.
Commander, the president said, is a 15-week-old rescue given as a present from his brother for his 79th birthday last month. The new addition to the first family comes after Biden’s dog Champ, who was also a German Shepherd, died in June 2021.
Some press gathered around for the walk were able to prompt Biden to answer some questions before the president let Commander off his leash to run around near the water.
Biden told reporters that he has not spoken recently with centrist Democratic Senator Joe Manchin after he sank the president’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better agenda earlier this month.
Cases are surging and Republicans claim ‘there is no federal solution’ to the pandemic.
Fauci said that the idea of removing masks while on an airplane ‘is really not something we should even be considering,’ while appearing on ABC’s latest edition of This Week on Sunday
Fauci added that the obligation to wear a mask while traveling by plane may never be removed and that introducing a vaccine mandate for domestic and international air travel would force non-vaccinated Americans to immune themselves against the coronavirus
And although Biden’s Tuesday schedule was blank, his public events do not usually contain any private meetings or phone calls the president may hold during the day.
The White House called a ‘lid’ at 10:13 am. A ‘lid’ means there will be no more public events with the president for the day. The ‘lid’ can be lifted – and was at 4:19 p.m.
Biden, Jill and Commander arrived in Rehoboth on Monday afternoon.
The first couple will spend several days at their 4,786-square-foot beach-side home with six bedrooms and five baths.
Their break from Washington D.C. comes as COVID cases in the U.S. have doubled over the past two weeks and the Omicron variant takes hold of the nation.
On average, 235,269 Americans are testing positive for the virus every day – a 99 percent increase over the last two weeks.
Republicans wasted no time following the massive surge slamming Biden for saying there is ‘no federal solution’ to combating COVID-19 on Monday despite his administration’s far-reaching efforts to stop the pandemic, including federal mask and vaccine mandates.
Biden’s comments Tuesday come amid an explosion of COVID cases in the U.S. over the past two weeks as the newly discovered Omicron strain takes hold in the country
Biden arrived in Rehoboth Beach on Monday afternoon with first lady Jill Biden and Commander
The trio will spend several days at the family’s Rehoboth, Delaware beach house
Biden has no public events on his schedule for Tuesday as he holes up in his beach house
The GOP, citing a comment Biden made in October 2020, released a tweet implying the president did an about-face on his commitment to battling the pandemic, which has come back with a vengeance with the highest amount of cases in a day since January – before vaccines were created.
‘BIDEN, TODAY: ‘There is no federal solution’ to COVID,” the Republican National Committee tweeted, and included footage of the president from Monday’s meeting with 25 governors.
‘BIDEN, 2020: ‘I’m going to shut down the virus.”
Biden was meeting Monday with 25 of the nation’s governors – a mix of Republicans and Democrats – where he addressed the ongoing pandemic.
After his speech, Biden asked White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients to open to the floor to questions from the governors.
However, before taking any questions, Zients quickly booted the press from the room, saying: ‘I think we’re going to clear the press first.’
It’s the latest instance of White House staffers appearing to shield the gaffe-prone president from the press. Last week, Biden cut short questions after a speech, saying: ‘I’m not supposed to be having this press conference.’
The Republican party blasted President Joe Biden on Twitter Monday after he said ‘there is no federal solution’ to combatting COVID-19
The GOP’s post was referencing a comment Biden made in October 2020 where he promised to ‘shut down the virus’
During the speech, he told the governors that there was ‘no federal solution’ to the Omicron variant causing cases to spike around the country, saying the solution was solidly on the ‘state level.’
His message to governors was: ‘If you need something, say something. We are going to have your back.’
The president’s comments came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cut in half isolation restrictions for Americans who catch COVID from 10 days to five. The CDC also shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
The restriction change comes as several industries face staff shortages caused by the federal mandates and the administration’s failure to provide adequate testing.
Biden’s supporters quickly rushed to his defense, alleging Republicans took his remarks out of context.
‘This deceptively-edited clip put out by the RNC and several GOP Members of Congress of Biden [sic] today creates the false impression that Biden is giving up on battling COVID,’ defense attorney Ron Filipkowski said. ‘This is a total lie’.
Filipkowski claimed the now-viral clip of Biden was ‘a total lie’ and edited to suggest he is ‘quitting on dealing with COVID and just throwing it to the states.’
Echoing the RNC’s sentiment, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blasted Biden’s handling of the pandemic.
‘Biden says there’s no federal solution to COVID and that this gets solved at a state level. He should immediately end his unconstitutional federal mandates,’ Abbott argued. ‘The Texas solution is no mandates and personal responsibility.’
Abbott did not join Biden’s meeting with the nation’s governors on Monday. All governors were invited to attend the virtual gathering.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, also accused the president of implementing illegal mandates and blamed his ‘incompetence’ for the surging virus.
‘When Joe Biden says ‘there is no federal solution,’ he’s trying to avoid blame for his incompetence,’ Cotton tweeted.
‘If he really believes this, he should rescind his unconstitutional federal mandates.’
Biden’s remark came during a meeting with 25 of the nation’s governors – a mix of Republicans and Democrats – where he addressed the ongoing pandemic. He told the governors that there was ‘no federal solution’ to the Omicron variant causing cases to spike around the country, saying the solution was solidly on ‘state level’
Cotton then argued that although there is ‘no federal solution,’ there are steps the president could take to combat COVID.
‘Biden opened the border, botched testing, and outsourced CDC’s guidance to the teachers’ unions,’ he stated.
‘There’s no federal solution, but the fed government can help by securing the border, approving safe treatments & tests, and appointing competent leaders at the FDA & CDC.’
North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn – the youngest member of Congress – also chimed in on Biden’s handling of the virus.
‘Joe Biden blames the unvaccinated for COVID more than he blames China,’ said Cawthorn, a Republican from North Carolina.
Congressional candidate Buzz Patterson, also from North Carolina, offered his two sense on the situation: ‘Biden surrendered on the border, surrendered to the Squad, surrendered to the Taliban, and just surrendered to COVID.’
‘Don’t worry, he’s safely ensconced in his beach home. Sleep well.’
Rep. Tom Cotton (left) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (right) were among those who blasted Biden over his handling of the pandemic. Both Republicans accused him of implementing COVID ‘illegal mandates’
Several conservatives took to Twitter, issuing their detest for Biden’s handling of the pandemic
During Monday’s meeting with governors, Biden admitted that his administration has not done enough to ease the COVID testing demand, vowing to do better.
He acknowledged the long lines around the country as people sought to get a COVID test ahead of the holidays, saying ‘clearly’ his administration has more work to do.
‘That’s not enough. Clearly not enough,’ Biden said, adding: ‘We have to do more. We have to do better. And we will.’
The president joined his COVID-19 Response Team’s meeting with the governors for the first time ever on Monday. After the meeting, Biden told reporters the governors had thanked him for his work.
‘They didn’t tell me they’re worried but they thanked me for the cooperation they’re getting. They said they’ve gotten all that they need. They just want to know what we think is gonna happen from here,’ he said, adding ‘there were no complaints, a lot of cooperation.’
He spoke with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he and Jill Biden departed for Rehoboth Beach, where the first couple will spend a few days at his family home in Delaware for New Year’s.
The president also denied a report in Vanity Fair that his administration, back in October, rejected a plan for more at-home COVID tests that called for an estimated 732 million tests per month. The plan also recommended a nationwide ‘Testing Surge to Prevent Holiday COVID Surge.’
‘We didn’t reject it,’ Biden said.
Biden joined the virtual meeting with the governors to discuss their needs to combat the Omicron variant as cases continue to rise and testing kits remain in demand. He acknowledged the testing shortage around the country in his opening remarks.
‘Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do,’ he said.
During the meeting, Biden also admitted that his administration has not done enough to ease the COVID testing demand, vowing to do better
He acknowledged the long lines around the country (a seen above in New York City on Dec. 27) as people sought to get a COVID test ahead of the holidays, saying ‘clearly’ his administration has more work to do
President Biden said his administration will do more to ease COVID testing lines and that more testing centers were coming
Biden argued, when he took office in January ‘we had no – zero – over-the-counter home test in the United States. None.’
‘Now there are more than 20,000 places to get tested for free,’ he said.
He said more testing sites were coming.
‘I know the lines have gotten very long in some states. That’s why I ordered FEMA to set up pop up sites in places with high demand to shorten the wait. We stood up 60 of sites in New York City in five days and there are more coming,’ he told the governors.
He also said his administration worked with Google ‘so you can now search COVID test near me on google to find a location.’
Biden’s meeting comes as his administration faces criticism for a shortage of COVID tests as Americans rushed to get tested ahead of the holiday season.
With demand high and shelves emptying out of stock, some retailers have placed limits on how many at-home testing kits can be purchased at a time. CVS has a limit of six test kits per purchase both in stores and online while Walgreens limits it to four kits.
‘You know, testing has always been an issue … that has been problematic. It has been compounded by the situation of the high demands,’ Biden’s COVID tsar, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN.
‘We had a conflation of high demands — high demands because of the concern about Omicron which is a justifiable concern, but the high demand that was triggered by the holiday season, people getting ready to travel getting ready to go and mix with family members and friends. It’s been a very, very strong run on testing.’
The Biden administration has announced plans to help quell this demand, distributing 500,000 at-home COVID tests to Americans in January.
Fauci also stated he expects more tests to be available next month.
‘We’ve obviously got to do better,’ Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. ‘I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow.’
Coronavirus cases are surging at a rate not yet seen in the near two-year pandemic
Despite the massive surge in cases, the CDC on Monday cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine
Both hospitalizations and deaths have remained steady in recent weeks, not rising at the same pace as cases
COVID cases in the US have exploded over the past two weeks, as the newly discovered Omicron strain begins to take hold in the country.
America is currently averaging 198,326 cases every day, a 68 percent increase over the past two weeks. Deaths and hospitalizations have not followed, though.
The US has not recorded a higher seven-day case average since January 19, the backside of the nation’s most devastating COVID surge to date.
The country is averaging 71,302 hospitalizations every day, only an eight percent increase over two weeks. Deaths are up three percent during that time span to 1,328 per day.
This could be a signal of the Omicron variant – which accounts for 73 percent of cases in the US, according to most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – being more mild than other strains.
Deaths and hospitalizations do lag behind cases, though, and a similar spike could be seen in those metrics soon as well, though.
Despite the surge, US health officials on Monday cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.
CDC officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.
The quarantine guidance is not a mandate, rather it’s a recommendation to employers and state and local officials.
It says workers can go back to work after seven days if they test negative and don’t have symptoms. The agency said isolation time could be cut to five days, or even fewer, if there are severe staffing shortages.
Meanwhile, Americans have been told by Fauci to cancel big parties as the Omicron variant tears across the nation.
Daily cases have spiked in recent weeks, up 68 percent over the past two weeks, and America’s top infectious disease expert warns that things will only worsen in the near future.
Fauci told ABC’s Good Morning America that the surge may only be beginning, and that Americans should expect the situation to exacerbate over the coming weeks.
‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better. That’s for sure,’ he said.
‘We don’t expect things are going to turn around in a few days to a week. It likely will take much longer than that. But that’s unpredictable.’
The Omicron variant, which was first discovered by South African health officials in late November, is the most mutated COVID strain yet. It has more than 50 mutations, including 37 on the spike protein targeted by the COVID vaccines
Fauci says it’s not possible to predict when the Omicron variant surge will come to an end because different countries have seen varied patterns.
‘Each demography of a country is different,’ he said.
The Omicron variant, which was first discovered by South African health officials in late November, is the most mutated COVID strain yet.
It has more than 50 mutations, including 37 on the spike protein targeted by the COVID vaccines.
The U.S. confirmed 10,179 cases of the variant as of Tuesday morning, though the real case figure is likely much higher. Only two other countries have confirmed more cases than that of the U.S.
Research performed by vaccine manufacturers and independent health experts have repeatedly found that the initial vaccine regimens – two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – are not effective at preventing infection from the variant.
Scientists and the pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies insist, however, that additional booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs can re-establish protection.
According to CDC data, 72 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID, and 64.5 million people have received their booster shot.
While the Biden administration is working to get testing kit to Americans, they are still urging everyone to get vaccinated. According to CDC data, 72% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 64.5 million people have received their booster shot