As the nation passes President Joe Biden’s ambitious goal of 200 million vaccinations in his first hundred days in office with more than a week to spare, and as the “dark winter” the president forewarned gives way to summer, more and more vaccinated Americans are itching to get back to some imitation of normalcy. And for many of them, “normal” looks like being able to go outside without wearing a mask.
But despite a growing scientific consensus that the risk of infection outdoors is negligible in most realistic settings, the White House’s COVID-19 task force has remained publicly adamant that the public keep wearing masks outside—at least for now.
“Let’s get to the 100 days,” Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior advisor for COVID-19 response, told reporters on Monday when asked whether the president’s call for 100 days of mask-wearing might be reconsidered anytime soon. “You know one thing about President Biden: He follows the science, he listens to his scientists, and we’ve got 12 more days to go until we get there. So please mask up, everybody, because it does save lives.”