The United States recorded nearly 1,800 new COVID-19 deaths Thursday, pushing the U.S. death toll since the start of the pandemic to over 520,000. For the first time, a seven-day average of vaccinations has topped 2 million doses — though just 8.4% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended President Biden’s remark that Republican governors who’ve lifted mask mandates were guilty of “Neanderthal thinking.”
Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “He believes that if we’re going to get this pandemic under control, we need to follow public health guidelines. He simply was asked — asked the American people to abide by wearing masks for a hundred days. We’re at about day 40. Are we at day 40? Around there. Sixty more days.”
On Wednesday, Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey said she would end a statewide mask mandate on April 9 — joining Mississippi and Texas. Alabama has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the U.S.