Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio are the latest states to impose statewide mask rules on Wednesday, following a spike in coronavirus cases across the country.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that starting Monday, anyone over the age of eight will be required to wear a mask inside any public or commercial building. Masks are also needed in outdoor public spaces when social distancing measures cannot be practiced safely.
An executive order was signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requiring all residents of Minnesota to wear masks when in public and commercial buildings starting Saturday.
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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said mask rules would be extended statewide for anyone over the age of 10 starting Thursday. The Republican initially resisted expanding the mask’s mandate to the entire state, but noted a recent increase in coronavirus cases in counties across the state.
The United States has reported the highest rate of COVID-19 in the world with more than 3.9 million cases and nearly 143,000 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins.
President Trump held a second coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, just a day after his first briefing in several months, where he encouraged Americans to wear masks. Trump had previously refused to wear a mask in public until recently.
During Wednesday’s briefing, the president explained why coronavirus cases have increased across the country. He said cases started to increase among young Americans “shortly after the protests”, referring to the nationwide protests that erupted after George Floyd’s death in police custody.
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Adding that the protests “have likely triggered a broader easing of nationwide mitigation efforts.”
Trump also said the increase in travel around Memorial Day and the start of summer vacation likely added to the increase in coronavirus cases.
“Young people congregate closely in bars and probably other places, maybe on beaches,” also attributed to recent spikes in coronavirus cases, he said.
Health experts have highlighted the lack of social distancing at bars and social gatherings in Florida and Texas, where there are large increases in the young population contracting the disease, as a potential indicator of why younger age groups get sick.
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The World Health Organization has warned infection rates are rising not just because of increased testing capacity, dismissing Trump’s previous claims, but because the virus is accelerating.
Health experts have warned there will likely be big spikes in coronavirus-related deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.