Merely three days after the attending physician for Congress mentioned that vaccinated members of Congress would no longer be asked to wear masks during committee hearings, the doctor reversed his decision. This sparked concerns that politics is gaining priority over science.
Dr. Monahan lifted the mask mandate in Congress
In a “Dear Colleague” tone letter issued by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, he stated the fully vaccinated people need not wear masks in most indoor and outdoor spaces of the Capitol. They also already returned to the same activities before the pandemic.
This issued guidance is in accordance with the ones released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and days after the White House and the CDC lifted the mask requirements indoors for fully immunized individuals.
However, on that same day that Monahan issued the guidance, Pelosi contradicted it. She told reporters that she will still keep masks mandated until all House members are fully vaccinated. She also mentioned that she would prolong the proxy voting up until the beginning of July.
"Updated guidelines issued by (att. dr.) Monahan say that the mask mandate will continue on the House floor 'until all Members are fully vaccinated' (and) that per the CDC, 'recovery from natural infection is not equivalent to vaccination.'"
— Trey, Unfunky In 5/4 (@InUnfunky) May 15, 2021
In relation to this, Monahan issued a letter debunking the mask guidelines he previously mentioned and realigning it with Pelosi’s policy. In the letter, Monahan stated that the mask mandates for indoors would stay in place for both committee hearing spaces and the House floor.
Rep. Mark Green raised his concerns about Monahan’s suspicious reversal of mask mandate.
Meanwhile, Representative Mark Green (R-Tenn.), a retired physician, raised his concerns during a committee hearing. The retired physician and House representative asked about Monahan’s suspicious reversal, which was made few days after Pelosi urged to keep the mask mandate intact.
Green asked whether the committee will base its decision on wearing masks on science or on the whims of the House Speaker.
He added that he would like to recommend asking Monahan what caused him to suddenly change his position merely four days after he said that it is already okay not to wear a mask.
Green added that Dr. Monahan seems to change the guidance after Pelosi made the comments that she will be keeping the mask mandates in place.
"This is the definition of hypocrisy," Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn. Green, a veteran, West Point graduate and physician, is among the several GOP lawmakers fined $500 this week for not wearing a mask on House floor. Subsequent violations could reach $2,500.https://t.co/b5vLX4QfHw
— RIRepublicans.us (@RIRepublicans) May 21, 2021
The retired physician also mentioned that the CDC already announced that masks are not required indoors for fully vaccinated individuals anymore.
Green also noted Monahan’s first response, saying that masks will not anymore be required on the House floor and in committee hearings.
However, a few days after that, he changed his medical advice. Green then said that he does not know what made him change his opinion all of a sudden. As of now, the attending physician for Congress advised that if the members are not speaking, they have to keep their masks on.