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Gov. Cuomo declares New York is not ready to follow the science and implement the new CDC mask guidelines

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Americans celebrated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new mask guidelines announcement Thursday that said vaccinated people can return to life without masks.

Except New Yorkers.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared shortly after the CDC unveiled its new mask policies that the Empire State would not be following the experts' guidance on face masks — at least not yet.

What's going on?

In a Thursday afternoon declaration, the CDC deigned to allow fully vaccinated Americans to return to mask-less, non-socially distanced life.

"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."

But Gov. Cuomo wasn't sold on the federal government's science experts' recommendation, the New York Post reported, and had not decided if he would allow his subjects to enjoy normal life.

In a statement issued shortly after the agency's announcement, Cuomo said he and his state government, including Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, would be following "the facts and the science" and would be reviewing the CDC guidelines.

"In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening," Cuomo said. "We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states."

Current New York rules state that fully vaccinated people can go without masks when they are outdoors — except when in crowded areas — but must remained mask indoors, no matter what.

What did one GOP state lawmaker say?

One New York Republican lawmaker, however, was quick to note that Cuomo's record with nursing home COVID-19 deaths should lead people to listen to the CDC instead of the state's leadership.

State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R) said that "our best bet as constituents is to always follow the CDC because we've seen what the 'experts' in New York state have provided," the Post reported.

"I don't think anything this governor says about using experts in New York state is true," Tedisco added. "He's working with people who are basically like working with Moe, Larry and Curly. I'd follow the CDC guidelines any time before following what the governor says."

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