The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has ignited a heated debate over mask mandates in the United States. Former President Donald Trump has taken center stage in this controversy, vowing to cut federal funding to any entity imposing mask or vaccine mandates.
New Mandates Are Campaign Fodder
Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump used recent speculations about mask requirements by some businesses and school districts as political fodder in his video address.
Trump Promises to Cut Federal Funding
In a video posted on X (formerly Twitter), Trump said that if re-elected, he would “use every available authority to cut federal funding to any school, college, airline or public transportation system that imposes a mask mandate or a vaccine mandate.”
“The Left-Wing Lunatics Are Trying to Bring Back COVID Lockdowns”
“The left-wing lunatics are trying very hard to bring back COVID lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fear-mongering about the new variants that are coming,” Trump said in a video, which has so far been viewed 2.4 million times. “Gee whiz, you know what else is coming? An election.”
“They Want to Restart COVID Hysteria”
“They want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal drop boxes, more mail-in ballots and trillions of dollars in payoffs to their political allies heading into the 2024 election – does that sound familiar?”
Republican Bill Opposing Ban on Federal Mask Mandates Fails
US Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) shot down a Republican-proposed legislature that aimed to ban federal mask mandates in schools, on airplanes and other public transportation.
Recent Spike in COVID-19 Cases
Several Republicans, including Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), proposed the contentious legislation in response to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, which led to the implementation of mask mandates in various locations across the United States, including public schools.
Uptick in COVID Cases Sparks a Debate
The surge in COVID-19 cases ignited a heated national debate, with anti-mask advocates saying they would not tolerate more mask mandates as they had during the previous pandemic.
Rolling Out New Vaccinations
The U.S. is rolling out updated shots from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax later this month for a fall vaccination campaign, but the public health response is still struggling to keep up with a fast-evolving virus.
Designed to Target XBB.1.5
The shots were designed months ago to target a variant, XBB.1.5, which is no longer dominant.
Dr. Fauci Is Optimistic
Though COVID-19 cases are rising again, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the number of hospitalizations and deaths are low, and the U.S. has a substantial wall of immunity from vaccination and prior infection.
No Surge in Hospitalization and Death Rate
“I doubt very seriously whether you’re going to see the hospital and death surge that we’ve seen in the past even if we get a surge of infections, because there’s enough fundamental, community-level protection,” Fauci told the BBC in an interview last week.
Fauci: New Mask Mandate Unlikely
Fauci also noted that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases is unlikely to result in federal mask mandates.
Critics of mask mandates argue that masks are ineffective in fighting COVID-19, claiming that they do little to spot the spread of the disease.
However, many medical professionals agree that masks work well when coupled with other measures such as disinfecting surfaces, washing hands, vaccinating and following social distancing guidelines.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Evan El-Amin. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.