Should that headline come with an exclamation point, a question mark or a period?
President Biden celebrated the day along with VP Kamala Harris: “Today is a great day for America,” he said.
A “rip-your-mask-off moment”
“Today is to the end of pandemic what last year’s March date was to the beginning,” Oliver Darcy remarked in a text.
The news media’s role now
Just as the news media played a crucial role in educating the public about Covid-19 and modeling best practices for public health, now the media has an equally important role in showcasing a gradual return to normal. I can see this happening in at least three ways: First, by thoroughly covering the data and research that supports this relaxed posture; second, by lifting up the audience’s concerns (What about children?) and presenting those questions to public health officials; and third, by implementing the guidance on sets and in newsrooms and at offices.
Many media workers want to get back to their desks ASAP. Many others want to keep working at home or otherwise take advantage of newfound flexibility. It’s complicated. But I know that complaints about the mostly closed status quo are getting louder and louder every day. Much more to come on this…
Here’s why Thursday’s change seemed like a surprise
Because it was! A major revision to the CDC guidance was not known to be in the cards. Quoting CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond: “White House officials were surprised when the CDC informed them Wednesday night around 9pm that the agency was changing its guidance for fully vaccinated people… They did not expect the CDC to release new masking guidance for at least several more days and also did not anticipate how far-reaching the guidance would be given the CDC’s cautious track record. But that is exactly how the White House wants these situations to be handled after President Biden came into office vowing to restore the CDC’s independence.”
So that’s why the WH scrambled to add a Biden speech a couple of hours after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the news…