Thursday, November 19, 2020

Federal and state governments issue conflicting messages about mask mandates as infection rates rise

More than 3 million people in the United States have active coronavirus infections and are potentially contagious, according to a new estimate from infectious-disease experts tracking the pandemic," Joel Achenbach reports for The Washington Post. "That number is significantly larger than the official case count, which is based solely on those who have tested positive for the virus."

Meanwhile, amid the coronavirus spike, federal and many state governments are sending conflicting messages about pandemic safety precautions, sometimes leaving the decision up to local governments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against traveling or holding large gatherings for Thanksgiving, for example, but has some recommendations for if you do. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called those guidelines "Orwellian" in a recent Fox News interview, Quint Forgey reports for Politico.

Some states, such as Oregon and Kentucky, recently announced new shut-downs because of spiking coronavirus infections, and the Republican governors in Iowa and North Dakota, who once dismissed mandatory coronavirus restrictions as ineffective, have issued mask mandates, Forgey reports. (See a list of mask mandates by state here.)

The governors of some hard-hit states, like Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, refuse to enact mask mandates, though Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon acknowledged that many are not acting in the best interests of the community, Eric Levenson reports for CNN. "We've relied on people to be responsible," Gordon said Friday, "and they're being irresponsible." That has left local and county governments in such states to decide on mask mandates, and many are.

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