While many US cities are reporting exponential case growth, leaders elsewhere are moving quickly to demand face covers in hopes of avoiding a similar fate.
“Let’s learn from Texas and Florida and what’s going on there,” said Dr. Rex Archer, director of health in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday as his city moved to require masks in the businesses. “Their mitigation and closure measures have not been adopted or adopted as quickly. “
In Anchorage, where the number of cases is increasing but not exploding, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said masks will be needed in restaurants and stores next week. Taking this action now, he said, may limit the need for more drastic action later.
“I don’t want to go back to a period of reluctance,” said Mr. Berkowitz.
And in Little Rock, Arkansas, where cases have increased, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. cited alarming epidemiological forecasts in an order requiring masks in his city. Scott said he recently tested negative for the virus.
“While waiting for the test results, my mind was focused on the moments when I inadvertently left out a mask, and who could have been hit,” Mr. Scott said on Twitter.
But Americans have generally received mixed messages since the start of the pandemic about the need for masks. In February, the surgeon general tweeted a message encouraging Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from getting coronavirus. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend cloth face covers “in public places where other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain.”
Even in some states experiencing an outbreak, guidelines are inconsistent. In Texas, for example, Governor Greg Abbott declared the state open to business, but as cases began to increase, he urged Texans to stay home. He said Texans should wear masks, but he refused to issue a state-wide warrant.