Governments and firms race to reinstate masks necessities – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
Governments and businesses are scrambling to change course after new federal guidelines called for the return of wearing masks in virus hotspots amid a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country.
Nevada and Kansas City were among the locations that quickly reintroduced internal mask regulations following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement on Tuesday.
The guidelines also urge all schools to require masks for students, teachers, and visitors, and districts across the country are trying to abide by the rules.
In a handful of Republican-run states, lawmakers have banned schools from using masks. The South Carolina governor said the state will not overturn its mask restriction, but Arkansas leaders are considering revising an April law that bans local and state authorities from requiring masks.
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has been increasingly challenged to lift this ban, at least for schools, as virus cases and hospital stays in the state increase.
Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, announced that it will reintroduce face mask protocols for all employees and visitors at its Missouri and Florida facilities.
Florida and Missouri are among the hardest hit states during the summer surge, with the US now seeing an average of more than 60,000 new cases per day, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant that is spreading in unvaccinated populations.
In Springfield, Missouri, a hospital expanded its morgue as the death toll began to rise. Steve Edwards, the CEO of CoxHealth, said at a news conference Tuesday that his company introduced temporary cooling equipment because 75 patients – 19 only since Friday – died at Springfield Hospital and other system hospitals in the area this month.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that her agency’s updated guidelines were prompted by new data suggesting that vaccinated people may on rare occasions pass the virus on.
“I know this is not a message America wants to hear,” she told CNN. “With previous variants, when humans had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see the ability to pass the virus on to others, but with the Delta variant, we now see that you can now actually pass it on to someone else.”
Walensky stressed that COVID vaccines work by preventing higher levels of hospital stays and deaths.
Unvaccinated people are responsible for the large number of new infections. Two-thirds of the US population eligible for vaccination have received at least one dose.
“We can stop the transmission chain,” she told CBS This Morning on Wednesday. “We can do something when we band together, when we vaccinate people who have not yet been vaccinated. If we mask in the meantime, we can stop this in a few weeks. “
In Provincetown, Massachusetts, where officials reassigned indoor masking requirements earlier this week after a spike in COVID-19 cases this month, shop owner Patrick Patrick says he doesn’t mind asking customers to mask again.
The owner of Marine Specialties, a long-time Army-Navy store, was suspicious of officials dropping virus safety mandates before many expected a busy summer season. He even tried to require customers to mask themselves in his store all summer before finally giving in in June.
“If we had stayed with masks all the time, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation,” said Patrick, adding that he requires masks and vaccinations from all of his staff. “They’re not exactly funny, but we’ve been wearing them all last summer and we haven’t had a single suitcase in Provincetown. Now you can see where we are. “
As of Tuesday, the city had reported more than 750 cases of COVID-19 related to the recent cluster, which began around the busy July 4th.
Officials said many cases are what are known as breakthrough infections in people who have been vaccinated. Three people were hospitalized, but no one died.