Masks gain political momentum despite Republican Party reservations

The political momentum behind the mask mandates is growing rapidly, with more governors issuing orders for people to wear face covers in public and major retailers uniting behind them.

Cloth masks or facial covers are now required in public in about half of the states, but some governors, mostly Republicans, still resist calls to issue mandates at the state level, leading to a mosaic of rules in the whole country.

Public health experts have lobbied states for several weeks to issue masking requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help Americans regain some semblance of normalcy as the search for a vaccine continues.

“I think we need a national requirement, but in the absence of that, we need each state to adopt a policy as soon as possible,” said Howard Koh, former secretary of health for the Obama administration, adding that uniformity is needed because ” the virus doesn’t respect city, county or state borders. “

“We don’t have a vaccine, and until the FDA approves it, masks are the best vaccine we have,” he added.

Last week, Republican governors in Alabama and Arkansas and Democrats in Colorado and Louisiana issued new rules that require masks to be worn in public when social distancing is not possible. The mandates in Montana and Mississippi also went into effect this week in dozens of counties.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced this week that it would need masks in its stores, along with CVS, Best Buy, and others, to further expand the idea into the mainstream.

Arkansas became the last state Thursday to require the wearing of masks in public, with Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) citing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are numbers that speak for themselves and indicate that we need to do more,” Hutchinson said Thursday.

“This whole fight against COVID-19 is likely to become more difficult and not easier, and we have to face the challenge together and everyone must do their part and this is a way to get everyone’s support in this fight,” he added. .

Hutchinson is not alone in realizing that more needs to be done to contain the rapidly spreading virus. As cases continue to rise in dozens of states, governors have accepted mandates they once opposed in desperate attempts to curb rising infection and hospitalization rates.

“I still think it will be a difficult order to carry out,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said when she announced a new masking requirement that will take effect Thursday at 5 pm

“I always prefer personal responsibility over a government mandate, and yet I also know with all my heart that the numbers and data for the past few weeks are definitely in the wrong direction,” he said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) also issued a statewide requirement earlier this month after he strongly opposed doing so earlier.

Dozens of states report increases in COVID-19 cases that experts say is related to reopening too soon after spring closings and lax monitoring of patterns of social alienation.

The United States has averaged 62,000 new cases per day, almost triple the average from a month ago. While President TrumpProgressive group Donald John Trump launches M pro-Biden ad purchase targeting young voters Ilhan Omar: Republican Party response to calls for police reform ‘was cruel’ The White House considers a total travel ban for members and families of the Chinese Communist Party: MORE report has said that the increase in cases is due to increased testing, experts note that the percentage of tests that test positive is also increasing, an indicator of the increasing spread.

While mounting evidence shows that facial coatings can stop the spread of COVID-19, governors have been slow to implement the requirements. The first states issued mandates in April. Three months later, half of the states still have no requirements, but most allow localities to set their own rules, and many have.

Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida are some states that do not have state rules, but localities have been allowed to take more vigorous action.

Public health experts argue that the requirements must be uniform to be as effective as possible.

However, the Trump administration has no plans to issue a federal mandate, and half of the states still do not have state mandates, although most allow localities to pass theirs.

“We let localities make the decisions regarding facial coatings, and the CDC guidelines remain the same today: recommended, but not mandatory,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday, referring to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) surprised observers on Wednesday when he issued an executive order that nullifies mask requirements issued by localities, including as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in the state.

“Previous executive orders, and now this order, state that no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours,” Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce said in a statement. “We have explained that local mask mandates cannot be enforced.”

Georgia was one of the first states to come out of the spring locks. Kemp has encouraged people to wear masks, but has emphasized personal responsibility for government mandates.

Iowa and Nebraska are the only other states that prohibit cities and counties from issuing their own mask rules. Both have republican governors.

Polls show that Americans are starting to wear masks in public.

A record 86 percent of respondents in a recent Gallup poll said they wore a mask outside their homes in the past seven days, compared to 64 percent who said the same thing in April.

However, polls also show that Democrats are more likely to wear masks than Republicans, indicating that the issue has become political.

President Trump wore a mask during a trip to Walter Reed Hospital last weekend, sparking hopes among health officials that he would encourage his followers to do so as well. Trump had repeatedly refused to wear a mask even when Republican lawmakers had urged him to do so to set an example for the country.

CDC Director Robert Redfield came this week to say that the coronavirus crisis could be contained in the coming weeks if everyone in the country wore masks from now on.

“I think we are being very clear now,” Redfield said during an interview broadcast live on Tuesday. “Now is the time to wear a mask.”