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Fox's Varney dings Pence for not wearing mask: 'It does not help'

Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney dinged Vice President Pence on Wednesday for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic, adding that a "more crippling lockdown" could hit the U.S. if Americans don't continue to act responsibly in the spring.

The criticism comes after Pence's visit on Tuesday to the prestigious Minnesota-based health clinic, where he was the only person at the facility spotted without a mask during his time there.

Varney noted during his show "Varney & Co." that cabin fever and warmer weather may embolden more Americans to venture out than before, which could potentially lead to more cases after flattening the curve in an effort to avoid overwhelming health care facilities.

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"Can we enjoy the spring responsibly? We better. Because a spike in new cases will mean a second wave and perhaps a new and more crippling lockdown," Varney warned. "Nobody wants that."

"Surely the answer is this: wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance," he continued. "That minimizes risk. And if you’re still worried, stay home."

"One last point. It does not help when public officials ignore their own rules like Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Nikki Haley warns Republicans on China: 'If they take Taiwan, it's all over' The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters MORE at the Mayo Clinic yesterday," Varney added. "He should have worn a mask, he didn’t. We should all obey the rules coming out this week.”

Pence defended his decision on Tuesday by saying he was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines around masks.

"As vice president of the United States, I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” Pence told reporters on Tuesday.

"And since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you," he added.

More U.S. states are in the process of reopening parts of their economies in phases, while others, including hard-hit New York and New Jersey, continue to enforce stay-at-home orders for nonessential workers.