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Mask updates prompt national debate

Members of the public listen to a Broward School Board meeting about mask-wearing on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Associated Press/Photo by Marta Lavandier

Mask updates prompt national debate

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged indoor mask-wearing in public in more than 60 percent of U.S. counties, some states and businesses rushed to restore mask mandates. Others say they’re waiting for updated research. The White House quickly shifted to full masking even though President Joe Biden announced “you’re either vaxxed or masked” in May. The United States currently averages 60,000 new coronavirus cases per day, up from about 13,300 a month ago. The number of daily deaths from COVID-19 has remained steady since then, according to data reported by Worldometer.

What are the reactions to the changes? House Republicans defied Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan’s instructions to wear medical-grade masks indoors. Legislators got into yelling matches outside the chamber. Some called the requirement anti-science and totalitarian, others called it an appropriate adjustment. St. Louis County approved a mask mandate, but the county council voted it out after a day. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava imposed a similar mandate, but Gov. Ron DeSantis recently gave Florida the authority to negate pandemic restrictions. The Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and the Republican governor of South Carolina said they would not revert to mask requirements. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will assess the CDC research before legislating further mandates.

Dig deeper: Listen to Anna Johansen Brown’s report on types of masks on The World and Everything in It.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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Big Jim

You know it's gone beyond science when you see single drivers in their cars with the windows rolled up . . . wearing The Mask. Or joggers out in the wide open with no one within 100 feet of them . . . wearing The Mask.

Welcome to the Religion of The Mask.

Tim MillerBig Jim

I've worn a mask alone in the car ... sometimes because I've forgotten I has it on (after wearing it at work), or knowing I would be making another stop shortly, or because I didn't want to forget to wear it wherever I was going. Motives can't always be discerned by behavior.

Big JimTim Miller

But have you worn The Mask while jogging outdoors with no one around? Behavior is a good indication of beliefs. Some are practicing The Religion.


Guess I’m just not too smart, because I haven’t been able to understand all the fuss about masks. I wear one where I’m asked to, or where most people are wearing them. I generally don’t mask where few people are wearing them. I figure if I wear a mask when I’m around people who are fearful of Covid, and thus help reduce their fears, that’s not too much to ask of me.

I think those who scream at mask non-wearers are nuts and out of line. I also can’t take seriously those who think being asked (or told) to wear a mask is somehow making anyone less free.

But that’s just me, Mr. not too smart.


Of all the moral panics of our time, anti-mask hysterics seem the most absurd. I've read good analysis that supports both sides of the debate, though the balance seems to be in favor of masking. If one is to choose a hill to die on, this seems like a pretty poor one.

Tim MillerOldMike

Since it's an airborne disease, masking makes sense to me. Having said that, I'm fully vaccinated and don't feel the need to wear a mask generally, but, like you, I still do in stores and other public places where people -- especially employees -- may feel unsafe around me. I think your comment is very wise and insightful, Old Mike.


There's no end to this. After a year of mask obsession, we have over 600,000 deaths and no end to variants. Clearly masks are doing little to help. The death rate of the Delta variant appears to be a third or a quarter of what it was during similar infection rates this last year. Time to start treating people early instead of waiting for them to need hospitalization. If experimental vaccines have this much enthusiasm behind them, surely experimental treatments should as well.

Tim MillerNanamiro

Mask mandates don't keep anyone from catching COVID. That's true.

Wearing a mask may protect those around you, however.

NanamiroTim Miller

Well, that's been debated for over a year. Last September the head of the CDC said, emphatically, before Congress that your mask is more effective at protecting you (the wearer) from Covid than a vaccine! When I heard that (and you can look up the video online), I knew there was something bizarre going on with the mask obsession.