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Everyone is laughing about the weird perspective in the photo of the Bidens visiting the Carters in Georgia last week, but the most significant thing about the image was that neither the president nor Jill Biden was wearing a mask around 96-year-old Jimmy Carter and 93-year-old Rosalynn, who also were sans mask. And good for them. They were all acting perfectly in accordance with CDC guidance allowing vaccinated people to have small indoor gatherings without masks. So why on earth did the Bidens put their masks back on the minute they walked outside? From a political party that professes to “follow the science,” it is a confusing message that erodes trust in public-health experts. While his mouth might say the opposite, the president’s mask tells us he doesn’t believe the vaccine works. Biden, or at least those around him, are perfectly aware that the message he sends by clinging to his mask is at odds with the current science of COVID-19 and the need to encourage stragglers to get vaccinated. Vaccinated since December, Biden was mocked around the world when he wore his mask during a virtual climate summit last month.

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