When asked about a new study discrediting lockdowns as a pandemic control measure, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said most of the lockdowns in the United States occurred during the Trump administration.
A recent Johns Hopkins meta-analysis of lockdown studies found that they are not an effective method of reducing mortality in a pandemic, but instead cause immense societal harm.
“[The study] suggests that lockdowns shouldn’t be a part of a future pandemic response,” a reporter said to Psaki on Friday. “Is that the shared view of the administration?”
Psaki said that lockdowns were never part of the Biden administration’s plan for battling COVID-19.
“Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president,” she said. “What our objective has been is conveying that we have the tools we need to keep our country open.”
While she repeated that President Joe Biden is not promoting lockdowns, Psaki did not answer the question directly when she was asked if she agreed that lockdowns do more harm than good.
No longer popular in the United States, lockdowns are still used in some parts of the world, including China, which is currently hosting the Winter Olympic Games. Mask mandates are also increasingly being questioned in the U.S., as the science behind them is scrutinized.
The future of remaining COVID restrictions is largely up in the air, with some areas of the country dropping them altogether and others keeping them in place for now.
In one of his first executive orders, new Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, returned the decision about masking school children to their parents.
NBC Washington reported that Arlington Public Schools said that its school mask mandate would remain in place in a Jan. 15 tweet.
Psaki, an Arlington County parent, thanked the school district for “standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant.”
The PSAs to stay at home and save lives will probably remain a remnant of 2020, however, as Psaki said that 90% of schools are open and more than 210 million Americans are vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We have the tools to avoid lockdowns, and we’re not moving back,” she said. “That’s our intention at this point.”
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