On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky announced new recommendations regarding mask wearing during a press conference at the White House. Americans who are fully vaccinated may stop wearing masks outdoors and indoors in most instances. Walensky cited three studies for the agency’s decision which showed vaccines are overwhelmingly effective at preventing COVID-19. As of Wednesday, roughly 116 million American adults are fully vaccinated.
The new recommendations reflect a breakthrough in a pandemic that has killed over 583,000 Americans. Despite the clear efficacy widespread mask-wearing has on reducing the spread of COVID-19, it has also been a lightning rod for Fox News and conservative media since the pandemic began last year. Fox hosts have routinely cast doubt on mask efficacy, mocked political leaders for wearing them, and told their audience to ignore public health guidance.
After the CDC released its new recommendations, Fox hosts began claiming that the move was nothing more than a distraction from other so-called crises.
Shortly after the press conference at the White House, Fox host Dana Perino suggested the announcement was just a distraction from other stories in the news, saying, “They’re either extremely lucky or extremely skilled.”
Later that night, Fox host Jeanine Pirro on Sean Hannity’s prime-time show claimed the announcement was just “theater.”
On May 14, Fox & Friends co-host Will Cain said the decision “does make you question whether or not science was the guide here.”
A short while later, America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer, while speaking with the White House senior COVID-19 adviser, suggested that the recommendations may be a distraction.