Cuomo criticizes sudden CDC mask recommendations during private White House call

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
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In a private phone call with the White House Tuesday, several governors, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, pressed the Biden administration on its sudden switch on mask guidelines.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In a private phone call with the White House Tuesday, several governors, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, pressed the Biden administration on its sudden switch on mask guidelines.

The most vocal of the governors was Cuomo, who said the White House should have coordinated with the states because "the message was sensitive."

"We had to scramble and we didn't really have the same uniformity of message that I think we've had up until now," Cuomo told the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to audio of the call obtained by ABC News.

RELATED | NY to adopt CDC guidance for fully vaccinated, but NYC recommends indoor masking

Cuomo noted that vaccinations, already on the decline, dropped further after the announcement, and that it "has caused confusion."

Leaders on the White House COVID-19 response team insist there are no mixed messages.

"The message here should absolutely get vaccinated," said Jeff Zients, the White House coordinator on the COVID-19 response team.

MORE NEWS: Mask-wearing update in NY, NJ and CT: What to know

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also defended the move, saying it wasn't intended to convince people to get vaccinated.

"I want to be very clear that this was not a motivation strategy. This was driven by science. I just want to make sure people are aware of that," Walensky said.

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