President Biden is pushing back hard against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to reopen the state "100%" starting next week. The president—using stronger language than usual—slammed the "Neanderthal thinking" of governors lifting mask mandates and other restrictions against the advice of health experts, the New York Times reports. "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask and forget it," he told reporters Wednesday. "It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science." Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves also announced Tuesday that the state would be lifting its mask mandate and all restrictions on businesses. Biden said the moves were a "big mistake."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Rochelle Walensky also warned against easing restrictions Wednesday, saying that with COVID variants spreading and vaccination programs gathering steam, the next two months will be "pivotal" in the fight against the pandemic, NPR reports. "Fatigue is winning, and the exact measures we’ve taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored," Walensky said, urging Americans to take steps to protect their health regardless of what their states decide. "Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities," she said, per CNN. "Not when we are so close." (Read more coronavirus stories.)