Friday, June 19, 2020

Mask rules confront pushback as coronavirus infections surge

Fears of a new wave of coronavirus infections are spurring officials in many states, such as California, to require that people wear face coverings outside the home. But mandatory mask-wearing continues to be controversial, particularly among conservatives. The sheriff of Orange County, Calif., says he won’t enforce the statewide mandate, while Nebraska’s Republican governor has threatened to withhold funding from any communities that require masks to be worn in official buildings.
Several studies this month support wearing masks to curb coronavirus transmission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends their use as a protective measure.
Case numbers continue to surge across the South and West — notably in Oklahoma, where President Trump plans to hold a campaign rally Saturday. Records were also reported in California, Arizona and Florida on Thursday.
Here are some significant developments:
  • Nearly 8.5 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, with the largest share — close to 2.2 million — in the United States. At least 451,000 people have died of covid-19 worldwide, and 116,000 of those deaths were reported in the United States.
  • In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump called coronavirus testing “overrated” and suggested that people wear masks to signal their disapproval of him.
  • On Friday, Britain lowered its coronavirus threat level from four to three, following advice from chief medical officers and the country’s Joint Biosecurity Center. Ethnic minorities in Britain may get priority for accessing a coronavirus vaccine, the country’s health secretary said Thursday.
  • New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Thursday that he was considering instituting mandatory quarantines for travelers from Florida, highlighting how much things have changed since March, when Florida ordered people fleeing hard-hit New York to self-isolate for two weeks.
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