Fighting continues over mask mandates nationwide during latest COVID surge

US lawmakers across the country are considering whether mask mandates are needed in response to the latest COVID-19 surge.

Many schools across the country are debating their policies to ban or list mandates, while some school districts have closed due to staff shortages.

Authorities in Wyoming’s capital city voted to end September’s mask mandates for students and teachers. The Cheyenne school district also voted to lower the COVID-19 isolation requirements, changing the isolation requirements to five days only for those who test positive and experience symptoms.

The University of Missouri’s governing board of schools also rejected the system president’s request to implement a temporary facade mandate on the Columbia campus and classrooms.

In Wichita, Kansas, a school board meeting was canceled after three members refused to wear masks at the swearing-in ceremony. Elected officials in Topeka said they were unwilling to implement the mask mandate, instead asking people to take precautions.

Some places, such as the University of Arizona, are setting stricter policies. Last week, the college posted that it would require a medical-grade mask to be worn indoors when social distancing is impossible, adding that it no longer accepts cloth masks.

New Orleans also established an indoor mask policy for tourists and artists preparing for Mardi Gras celebrations. According to the city’s health director, Dr Jennifer Avegno, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continues to rise, and some emergency rooms are currently facing 12-hour wait times.

Announcing a temporary mask mandate Tuesday, Lindsay Hughes, the health director of Douglas County, Omaha, Nebraska, said there is evidence that masks help reduce the spread of transmission.

“It’s not a decision I took lightly. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, and I know it’s going to make some waves,” Huss said.

However, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted that he was “strongly opposed” to the mandate.

There is a fight all over the country over the mask mandate. Above, protesters protest masks, vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, along with some adjuvant vaccines, at the State House in Boston on January 5. Boston has mandated a vaccine requirement that begins January 15, requiring city employees to have at least one shot and two. 15 February.
Joseph Prezioso / Getty Images

Elsewhere there was hesitation to bring back requirements that expired months ago. In Michigan, where state officials said record-high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations could peak as early as late January or early February, health leaders reinstated restrictions or mask mandates. be reluctant to do so. They continue to urge people to get vaccinated, get booster shots, wear well-fitted masks in public, and avoid large gatherings.

Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, recommends that people wear an N95 mask or two well-fitting face coverings. A parent group has called for school mask requirements, which are in place in most individual districts, but not at a statewide level.

In Utah, GOP Governor Spencer Cox exempted the Capitol and other state facilities from municipal facade mandates. Salt Lake County Democratic Mayor Jenny Wilson said the governor does not have the authority to make exceptions to the policy, which requires N95 and KN95 or similar masks for one month in indoor spaces, including schools.

The changes come as the federal government assesses the supply of medical-grade respirator face coverings, such as N95 or KN95 masks. During a briefing on Wednesday, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Ziants said officials were “strongly considering options to make more high-quality masks available to all Americans,” noting that Gov. There is a stock of over 750 million N95 masks.

Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “The best mask is the one you’ll wear and one you can keep on all day, one that you can tolerate in public indoor settings.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.