WASHINGTON – A state-by-state battle over masks is unfolding as coronavirus deaths are reportedly climbing in 25 states while new case numbers climb in hot spots.
ICU beds are filling up in Florida hospitals. In Texas, 110 people died in one day this week. The Army is now sending medical teams to Houston.
Arizona, meanwhile, is calling in nearly 600 nurses from out of state to help.
And Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is now the first governor to test positive. "The results came back positive so I feel fine," said Stitt. "I'm not thinking about a mask mandate at all."
Stitt went without a mask at President Trump's rally last month in Tulsa.
Alabama's governor is now making masks mandatory. Violators could face a $500 fine.
Georgia's governor is going in the opposite way though, forbidding officials to issue orders mandating masks.
A growing number of companies like Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, and Starbucks are now too requiring customers to wear face coverings.
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Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, says this could help. "We really embrace masking, social distancing, handwashing," said Redfield. "We really could bring this outbreak to its knees."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says there's a reason why modern doctors and nurses have always worn masks - they're effective at preventing the spread of disease.
Mask wearing isn’t some novel idea they came up with to control us
Surgeons,nurses & dentists have used them forever to protect patients & themselves.
If it doesn’t work,what’s the harm?
And if it has a 10% chance of getting us back to school,sports & life why not do it?
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 16, 2020
On the education front, more school districts are announcing students won't be returning to the classroom this fall. Houston, San Francisco, and Prince George's County, Maryland will hold classes online.
Still, some say social distancing measures are going too far. In California, religious liberty advocates are pushing back against a California law forbidding singing and chanting in church. The American Center for Law and Justice has joined other groups in filing a suit on behalf of three churches challenging that order.