Public/Global Health

Pelosi says she won’t wear mask to State of the Union

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during a ceremony to unveil a statue of Pierre L'Enfant by artist Gordon Kray on Monday, February 28, 2022.
Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she won’t wear a mask during President Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night following a rule change that relaxed mask mandates in the House chamber. 

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Pelosi told host Andrea Mitchell that she won’t be wearing a mask and will “use my own judgment” when it comes to wearing a mask going forward.

“I’m not going to be wearing a mask tonight. If I had little children or if I were around little grandchildren, I would because some of them would not be vaccinated,” Pelosi told Mitchell. 

Biden is slated to give his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.

Many lawmakers may not be wearing masks given the new guidance from officials on Capitol Hill and the falling number of cases nationwide.

In a letter on Sunday, Capitol physician Brian Monahan told lawmakers that the House will lift its mask mandate ahead of Biden’s address, making mask wearing optional throughout the Capitol complex. 

“Individuals may choose to mask at any time, but it is no longer a requirement,” Monahan wrote in a letter.

Monahan also cited that positive COVID-19 test rates at the Capitol are down to 2.7 percent in the last two weeks, below the current rate for the Washington metropolitan area (4.7 percent). 

Masks have been a divisive political issue throughout the pandemic, including on Capitol Hill.

There have been numerous instances of Democrats asking Republicans to wear masks and criticizing those who did not.

The House had been following a mask mandate since July, in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the time to limit the spread of the virus.

The CDC on Friday eased its mask recommendation for most Americans, advising that people living in communities with “low” or “medium” COVID-19 levels can go maskless.

Tags 2022 State of the Union Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi

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