Florida GOP moves to combat vaccine mandates, virus rules
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers on Monday began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' fight against virus rules. The weeklong special legislative session in the GOP-controlled statehouse includes proposals to let workers opt out of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and allow parents to sue schools with masking requirements. DeSantis has become one of the highest profile Republican governors in the country through his vocal opposition to lockdowns, mask rules and vaccine mandates.
Following updated mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as a surge of COVID-19 Delta variant cases, several cities and counties across the nation have revived mask mandates.
One of the most recent cities to reinstate a mask mandate is Kansas City, Missouri. In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote, "I have stuck with CDC guidance throughout the pandemic and today is no different. I will return Kansas City to a mask mandate indoors based upon national and regional health guidance and discussion with other Kansas City leaders. I will provide further details in the morning."
Amid challenges to Biden's vaccine mandate, study shows they work
Half of workers say they're willing to quit their jobs if employers require the vaccine, but few actually are quitting.Some business owners also have expressed fear that mandating the vaccine could intensify existing staffing shortages. Many politicians have shied away from mandates, worrying that the approach would be unpopular. But the key public health question is whether the evidence suggests that a mandate will increase or decrease vaccination. Now, Americans have the evidence coming from the implementation of mandates in companies and the government of New York City.
"We cannot ignore the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in Missouri—outpacing much of the country. We will do all we can to ensure our corner of this state is safe," Lucas wrote in a subsequent tweet.
St. Louis, Missouri, also recently reinstated a mask mandate when residents are in public places or on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves Says CDC's Mask Guidelines Are 'Foolish'
Governor Reeves said the new mask guidance "has nothing to do with rational science.""Tuesday's change in the CDC mask guidance is foolish, and it is harmful," Reeves said Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair, according to local news station WAPT.
During a recent press conference, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said, "While the vaccination can protect against serious illness, it can't protect you from being infected with COVID-19 and passing it onto someone else, someone who may be more vulnerable."
In Massachusetts, Provincetown recently reinstated its mask mandate, while some other localities in the state have issued mask advisories.
Overnight Health Care: Biden expected to announce vaccine requirement for federal workers | Republican governors revolt against CDC guidance | Pfizer: Third vaccine shot 'strongly' boosts immune response against delta
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is running pro-vaccine ads across Kentucky, using money from his reelection campaign. If you have any tips, email us at [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8.Today: President Biden is expected to unveil a mandate for federal government employees and contractors to get vaccinated or get regular COVID-19 tests.
In a Facebook post, Provincetown Town Manager Alex Morse announced that masks will be required for indoor public places. Two other Massachusetts communities, Cape Cod and Cambridge, have recently issued mask advisories, encouraging residents to wear masks for indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status.
Here's where you should wear a mask indoors under new CDC guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday released updated guidance that recommended many Americans again wear masks when they venture into indoor public spaces such as grocery stores, theaters and arenas.The update came amid an alarming rise on COVID-19 cases across the country that suggests the highly contagious delta variant is surging and can also be transmitted by people who have been vaccinated.The guidance itselfThe update came amid an alarming rise on COVID-19 cases across the country that suggests the highly contagious delta variant is surging and can also be transmitted by people who have been vaccinated.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak recently announced an indoor mask mandate for 12 counties that are considered "high transmission" counties. The mask mandate applies to the counties of Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine.
The indoor mask mandate also applies to the cities of Las Vegas, Carson City and Reno, as they are located in the 12 "high transmission" counties.
According to Sisolak's announcement, the indoor mask mandate will go into effect on June 30 and applies to all residents regardless of vaccination status.
CDC backtracks with new mask guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reversed guidance from just two months ago by saying fully vaccinated people should now mask up in certain areas, underscoring the growing threat posed by a new strain of the coronavirus.In updated guidelines, the CDC advised fully vaccinated people to wear masks in "public, indoor settings" in parts of the country with "substantial" or "high" levels of transmission. Agency officials cited data showing vaccinated people can spread the delta variant, which recently became the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis previously signed a bill prohibiting local governments from imposing mask mandates, but on Tuesday, the town of Palm Beach announced that it was requiring masks when residents are inside town-owned buildings. According to WPTV in West Palm Beach, Council President Margaret Zeidman said on Tuesday that the town cannot impose mask mandates on private businesses.
The mask mandate in Palm Beach town-owned buildings applies to all residents whether or not they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Video: The CDC is reconsidering a mask mandate: Here's how it could affect you (USA TODAY)
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings previously encouraged residents to wear masks when indoors amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, but stopped short of imposing a county-wide mandate.
Mask mandates were also revived in Savannah, Georgia, earlier this week amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.
"None of us want to take a backward step in our return to normalcy, but wearing a mask is the simple, easy, most inexpensive thing we can do to protect ourselves and those around us," Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said during a recent press conference.
White House mixed mask messaging could hamper adherence to expected CDC guidance
On Monday, California's San Mateo County announced it was reinstating its mask mandate.
"The County of San Mateo, out of an abundance of caution and to protect public health, is requiring face coverings as of Monday for the public when indoors at County offices, clinics and other publicly accessible facilities," the county said in a statement.
Prior to San Mateo County, Los Angeles County was the first area in the U.S. to reinstate an indoor mask mandate and health officials in California's Bay Area previously encouraged residents to wear masks when indoors, despite if they have been vaccinated.
New Orleans also previously imposed a mask advisory and, while it is not a citywide mandate, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that the advisory "puts the responsibility on individuals themselves," according to the Associated Press.
Some public schools districts in Ohio and Atlanta have also said that students and staff will be required to wear masks at the start of the upcoming school year.
Reviving mask mandates comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases across the nation, as well as newly updated mask guidance from the CDC. On Tuesday, the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated should begin wearing masks again in public settings in areas deemed as having "substantial or high transmission" of the novel coronavirus.
Data from the CDC shows that the weekly average number of daily cases has continued to increase over the past week. As of Monday, the U.S. was averaging at least 53,772 daily new COVID-19 cases.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky previously announced that the highly transmissible Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
While officials have continued to stress the importance of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, a number of areas that have seen a rise in cases have some of the lowest vaccination rates. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 29 states currently have less than 50 percent of their population vaccinated against COVID-19.
Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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