- Travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the US or the EU will not have to be quarantined when entering England – but vaccinated Canadians will still need to follow quarantine rules.
- Tokyo reported 3,177 new cases of COVID-19 – a new single-day high.
- US prosecutors have said a man is accused of emailing death threats to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
- interactive | where is the Corona virus pandemic Is it getting better or worse?
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New guidance from the US government launched a series of mask rules across the country on Wednesday as cities, states, schools and businesses raced to restore mandates while others backed away from guidelines when Americans are already weary and confused about the ongoing change in pandemic measures.
Nevada and Kansas City were among the locations that moved quickly to reimpose indoor mask mandates following Tuesday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the governors of Arizona, Pennsylvania and South Carolina said they would resist reversing course.
The federal recommendations quickly plunged Americans into another emotionally charged debate about face coverings aimed at curbing the easy transmission of the deadly coronavirus.
In Florida, a Broward County school board meeting turned into a screaming match between angry parents and board members on Tuesday. Some protesters even resorted to burning face masks outside the building.
In an Atlanta suburb, Jamie Reinhold said she would pull her children out of school if the area complied with CDC guidelines, which the 52-year-old believes will take the country “backward” and damage confidence in vaccines.
“If you believe in masks, go ahead, but don’t try to tell me what I should do for the health and safety of my child and the immune system,” she said. “It’s my baby. It’s my choice.”
And in New Orleans, Lisa Bowden said she was not convinced that mask mandates would inspire non-vaccinators — who account for the most new infections — to take the virus seriously and get vaccinated.
“I’m so frustrated,” said the St. Louis woman, walking around the French Quarter without a mask. “For the past 18 months, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, and there are no repercussions for those who haven’t done what they’re supposed to.”
Elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. said it will restore protocols for face masks for all employees and visitors at its facilities in Missouri and Florida. The two states are among the hardest hit by the summer wave that the United States is now averaging more than 60,000 new cases per day, driven by the highly contagious type of delta.
Google has also postponed the planned Sept. 1 return to the office for most of its 130,000+ employees until mid-October, following a similar move by Apple. Google said Wednesday that it will eventually also require everyone on staff to be vaccinated, a mandate that President Joe Biden said he is also weighing for federal employees.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said he is not considering mandating a face mask in schools or statewide, although he urged Pennsylvania residents to follow federal guidelines. The Democrat said the state’s mandates on masks were necessary before there was a vaccine.
Federal officials said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance applies to places with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, which is about 60 percent of all US counties.
Watch | The CDC recommends indoor masks, even for full vaccinations:
Almost all of the South and Southwest are subject to the guidelines, but most communities in the Northeast — with the exception of major metropolitan areas like New York City and Boston — are currently exempt, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker.
The stark partisan divide over mask-wearing has created the potential for a patchwork of regulations within states and territories.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, Mayor Daniela Levine Cava imposed a mandate to use an indoor mask on Wednesday at county facilities.
The Democrat’s announcement, which does not apply to businesses or restaurants, comes after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law in May that gives the state the power to override local pandemic measures, including mandates and restrictions on business operations.
In Missouri, the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday voted to reverse the mask mandate, just a day after it became one of the first states to be brought back into the country.
But Sam Page, the executive director of Democracy, insisted on Wednesday that the mandate was still in effect and blamed the decline on politics.
On the other side of the state, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, promised to provide details Wednesday of his plans to require mask-wearing indoors in Missouri’s largest city.
State Attorney General Eric Schmidt, a Republican senator, sued to block the St. Louis area mandate and vowed to do the same to Kansas City’s requirements, saying on Twitter that the mandates “are about politics and control, not science.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s updated guidelines are guided by new data indicating that vaccinated people can rarely transmit the virus.
But the agency’s director, Rochelle Wallinsky, stressed that vaccines work by preventing higher levels of hospitalization and death. Unvaccinated people are responsible for the huge number of new infections. Two-thirds of the population eligible for the vaccine in the United States received at least one dose.
“I know this is not a message America wants to hear,” Walinsky told CNN on Wednesday.
“With the previous variants, when people had this rare super infection, we didn’t see their ability to spread the virus to others, but with the delta variant, we now see that you can actually now pass it on to someone else.”
What is happening in Canada
What is happening around the world
As of Wednesday, more than 195.8 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll has reached more than 4.1 million.
in a AsiaIndonesia recorded 47,791 new cases and 1,824 confirmed deaths in the past 24 hours. The Ministry of Health has registered 558,392 active cases in Indonesia, with more than 81,000 cases from Sumatra regions.
in a AfricaAnd Tanzanian President Samia Solo Hassan has publicly received her vaccine, in the strongest signal yet of a break from the policies of her late predecessor who repeatedly dismissed the pandemic threat.
In the AmericasInfected young people, health officials say, are a driving factor for the third wave of cases in Mexico. Experts say young people are at greater risk because most are not immunized and are becoming increasingly active.
in a EuropeThe government said Norway has postponed for the second time the final planned step in reopening its economy from the pandemic lockdown, due to the continued spread of the delta variable.
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