The recent change of mask guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created some confusion and also ample opportunity for political attacks against President Joe Biden’s administration, some of which rely on misinterpretations from partisan sources.
Late Thursday evening for example, one of the Republican National Committee’s Twitter accounts made a false claim about mask recommendations from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
The RNC Research account – which, according to its profile description, focuses on “exposing the lies, hypocrisy, and failed far-left policies of Joe Biden and the Democrat Party” – wrongly said Murthy advocated for parents to wear masks around their unvaccinated children.
“Biden Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: Vaccinated parents should wear masks at home with their kids and outside,” the RNC tweet reads, with a clip attached of an interview with Murthy on MSNBC.
Facts First: This is false. Murthy told MSNBC on Wednesday that vaccinated people with unvaccinated individuals at home could wear masks in public, indoor spaces to help further protect those unprotected at home. Murthy did not advocate for vaccinated parents to “wear masks at home with their kids” as the RNC claimed.
Here’s what Murthy said during the interview:
“For example, if you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks who are unvaccinated – let’s say you’re a parent like me, who has young children at home who are not vaccinated – that’s a circumstance where being extra cautious and wearing that mask even if you’re fully vaccinated, wearing it outside when you’re in indoor public locations, is an extra step to protecting those at home.”
Murthy’s inartful phrasing of “wearing it outside when you’re in indoor public locations,” certainly left room for some confusion about whether he was advocating for wearing masks outdoors too. But nowhere in this quote does Murthy advocate for the parents of unvaccinated kids to wear masks at home.
“What the Surgeon General said is that parents of unvaccinated kids can wear masks in public places to avoid bringing infection home to their kids,” Murthy’s communications director Alexandria Phillips told CNN, “so they don’t have to wear masks at home with their kids.”
The RNC did not respond to CNN’s request for comment before this article was published.