‘This Is Not About Reopening’: Azar Encourages People To Wear Masks, Social Distance During Spike In Cases
Both President Donald Trump's HHS secretary and Vice President Mike Pence called on Americans to act responsibly and wear masks even though some leaders do not follow the CDC's advice. News on masks looks at local, state and other countries' policies, a choir's negligence, politicians' calls for President Trump to wear a mask, and which masks rise to the top, as well.
Azar Warns 'Window Is Closing' On Combating Covid Spread
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned the country Sunday that coronavirus outbreaks in Texas, Florida, Arizona and other southern and southwestern states threaten to spiral out of control without immediate intervention including widespread use of masks or face coverings. "The window is closing," Azar said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We have to act, and people as individuals have to act responsibly. We need to social-distance. We need to wear our face-coverings if we're in settings where we can't social-distance, particularly in these hot zones." (Miranda Ollstein, 6/28)
HHS Secretary: 'The Window Is Closing' To Stop Coronavirus Spread
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday the “window is closing” to stop the spread of coronavirus, as cases across the South and West surge. Azar said the country is in a different situation than at the last peak of the epidemic a few months ago, noting new therapeutics and advancements of COVID-19 vaccine research, but he added that “the window is closing.” (Klar, 6/28)
Pence: 'We Want To Defer To Local Officials' On Requiring Masks
Vice President Pence defended the lack of encouragement from President Trump for all Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, saying the White House wants "to defer to governors." “One of the elements of the genius of America is the principle of federalism, of state and local control,” Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We've made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials, and people should listen to them.” (Budryk, 6/28)
Dallas Morning News:
Mike Pence In Dallas As Gov. Abbott Says COVID-19 Has Taken ‘Very Dangerous Turn In Texas'
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday pledged to commit the resources Texas needs to win the fight against COVID-19, and he urged Americans to be diligent about wearing masks and washing hands to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus. (Jeffers Jr., 6/28)
Virus Spikes While Local And State Officials Bicker Over Face Mask Mandates
Every day, Texas continues to break records in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, rivaling hotspots such as Florida and Arizona as the new center of the U.S. pandemic.As the situation escalates — spiking to a record 6,584 new cases Wednesday and adding more than 5,000 new infections almost every day last week — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has consistently touted the ways in which Texans can stay safe: Wear a mask, sanitize often, social distance. ...Yet even as Abbott has warned that Texas will take further measures if the situation doesn’t improve, he has refused to allow local officials to penalize people who decline to wear masks in public. However, earlier this month he began allowing local officials to penalize businesses that don’t require employees and customers wear masks. (Simpson, 6/29)
Which US States Require Masks And Which 4 Don't At All?
While the majority of Americans say they are wearing masks when they go out in public, some states have taken more stringent measures to ensure that's the case during the coronavirus pandemic. Of the 50 states, 46 either require masks to be worn statewide or have some sort of requirement in certain locales, according to Masks4All, a volunteer organization that advocates for more mask-wearing. (Torres, 6/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
Masks Could Help Stop Coronavirus. So Why Are They Still Controversial?
As countries begin to reopen their economies, face masks, an essential tool for slowing the spread of coronavirus, are struggling to gain acceptance in the West. One culprit: Governments and their scientific advisers. Researchers and politicians who advocate simple cloth or paper masks as cheap and effective protection against the spread of Covid-19, say the early cacophony in official advice over their use—as well as deeper cultural factors—has hampered masks’ general adoption. (Pancevski and Douglas, 6/28)
Q&A: Are Face Mask Requirements Legal?
According to Lindsay Wiley, the director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University, there is a legal basis for mandatory masks. In an interview with NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Wiley said, "State and local governments have really quite broad authority" to require the public to wear masks during a pandemic. (Garcia-Navarro, 6/28)
Choir Of More Than 100 People Sings Without Masks At Pence Event In Texas
More than 100 choir members at a church where Vice President Pence attended a rally in Texas could be seen singing without masks on Sunday, just days after the state’s governor announced he would be reimplementing certain restrictions in the state following a surge in coronavirus cases. In footage of the event, which CNN reported was held at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Pence could be seen wearing a mask, clapping along with other members of the audience to the choir’s performance. According to the news network, the choir performed multiple times during the event without the masks, which they would reportedly put on when they took their seats. (Folley, 6/28)
GOP Committee Chair: 'It Would Help' If Trump Would Wear A Mask Occasionally
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that “it would help” if President Trump would wear a mask occasionally during the coronavirus pandemic. "If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do," Alexander, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, told CNN’s “Inside Politics.” (Coleman, 6/28)
Pelosi: Requirement To Wear Masks ‘Long Overdue’
As a majority of states contend with rising coronavirus cases, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a nationwide mandate to wear a mask is “long overdue.” ...The speaker called on President Trump to “be an example” to the U.S. and wear a face covering, saying “real men wear masks.” (Dugyala, 6/28)
Pelosi: Nationwide Mask Mandate 'Definitely Long Overdue'
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday a nationwide mandate to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus is “definitely long overdue.” “Definitely long overdue for that,” Pelosi told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's “This Week.” “And my understanding that the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] has recommended the use of masks but not required it because they don’t want to offend the president.” (Coleman, 6/28)
The Washington Post:
Why Simple Cloth Masks Without Valves Are Better At Fighting The Spread Of Covid-19
Those face masks you see with coin-sized valves on the front may look intriguing but they are not as good at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus as the seemingly lower-tech, non-valved masks. Some masks designed for hot, dusty construction work — where the intent is to filter out dust before it hits the wearer’s lungs — have “exhaust” valves that allow the exhaled air to flow out more easily, to keep the mask-wearer cooler. (Fritz, 6/28)
In related news —
The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Medical-Supply Deliveries Tap Into Growing Relief Logistics Operation
While the world scrambled for personal protection gear in May to shield from the coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian government managed to secure an order for tens of millions of face masks from Chinese suppliers. But getting the masks to Canada was more difficult than procuring them. With no flights coming out of China, Canadian authorities had to improvise. They turned to Maersk Special Project Logistics, a unit of Danish shipping and logistics giant A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S that handles complex supply chain operations, often in hazardous conditions. (Paris, 6/26)