8 States That Could Mandate Face Masks Next
With Minnesota and Ohio adding themselves to the growing list of states that have statewide face mask mandates to help fight the spread of COVID-19, the question must be asked: Which states will be next? So far, 30 states have one implemented. "The time is now," CDC Director Robert Redfield said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association's Dr. Howard Bauchner. "I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control." Here's which states could be next to implement a mandate.
"Florida is the new domestic epicenter of the pandemic, and it's on track to keep getting worse," reports Axios. "The state has not issued a mask mandate, but some of its cities have." On Tuesday, 136 deaths were reported, bringing their total to 5,319. According to the Associated Press, the state, which has seen their weekly death average rise over the past 10 days, has the highest death rate in the country.
"As the number of people hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 increases, the Oklahoma State Department of Health updated its hospital surge plan to boost the number of beds available for patients, if needed," reports the Oklahoman. "I can tell you, the surge is real," said Jim Gebhart, community president of Mercy Hospital, according to the website. "On July 2, Mercy had 16 (COVID-19) patients. Yesterday, we had 39. So, I don't want anyone to think there aren't a lot of people being hospitalized around the state of Oklahoma."
After Gov. Doug Ducey lifted a stay-at-home order in mid-May, Arizona quickly emerged as a national coronavirus hotspot. Currently the hospitals are experiencing near-capacity volume, with 83% capacity and 85% of their ICU beds filled. Their daily death toll is also trending high, with hospitals in the state requesting refrigerated morgues last week due to the surge.
"The third time wasn't a charm, either. Idaho has failed to meet the criteria to exit Stage 4 for a third time, according to an analysis of data published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare," reports the Idaho Statesman. "Idaho averaged 23.4 emergency room visits per day with COVID-19-like illnesses during this 14-day evaluation period (July 6-19). It's the first time the state has been above its 20-per-day threshold during reopening and is up from 17.9 during the previous attempt (June 22-July 5)."
"The rising cases in South Carolina and across the Sunbelt is serious and people need to take it seriously. We all have a role to play," Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday. "He mentioned people need to practice safe hygiene, to practice social distancing, and to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible," reports WRDW. "I'm very confident the people of South Carolina are going to do just that." Yet there is no face mask mandate.
"Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order last week that has language suspending local mandates. [Yet] DeKalb County joins the growing list of municipalities in Georgia defying the governor's executive order by issuing mask mandates," reports Fox News. "County commissioners passed an amended ordinance Tuesday morning requiring face coverings to fight the spread of COVID-19" and it requires "DeKalb residents over age eight 'to utilize a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth when in any public place.'"
"Utah is among the many U.S. states battling a surge in coronavirus cases, but officials said Wednesday the Salt Lake City area is bucking the trend after the county issued a mandate a month ago for people to wear masks," reports ABC 11. "There's no statewide mask order in Republican-led Utah, and face coverings remain contentious, as seen at a recent public meeting that was abruptly ended when dozens of people without masks packed the room."
Since reopening, Tennessee is one of the many southern states experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections. According to the Tennessee Department of Health on Tuesday, July 21 the state reported 2,190 new cases, bringing the state to 81,944 total cases—a 3% day-to-day increase since Monday. Their seven-day new cases also increased, as did hospitalizations. Nashville mayor John Cooper has ordered restaurants and other businesses that serve alcohol in Nashville and Davidson County—their most populous region—to close by 10 p.m. daily beginning Friday.
The States That Do Mandate Face Masks
Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia each have some form of statewide mandate. To stay healthy no matter where you live, wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have COVID-19, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.