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US Oklahoma Governor Declares Day of Prayer Amid COVID Pandemic, but No Mask Mandate

19:40  01 december  2020
19:40  01 december  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

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The first case of COVID -19 in the U.S. state of Oklahoma was reported on March 7, 2020, with the first confirmed COVID -19 death occurring on March 18.

Days after instituting Iowa's first, partial mask rule, which applied to large gatherings, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a full face-covering mandate effective Nov. Amid a rapid rise in COVID -19 cases that the state Department of Health said is causing "critical shortages" in North Dakota's health

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt declared a day of prayer and fasting for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic but has refused to issue a mask mandate, despite pleas from state Democrats and medical officials.

Kevin Stitt wearing a suit and tie: Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Monday, Stitt announced a day of prayer and fasting for those affected by COVID-19, but has stated he will not issue a mask mandate. © Alex Wong/Getty Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Monday, Stitt announced a day of prayer and fasting for those affected by COVID-19, but has stated he will not issue a mask mandate.

The Republican governor said Monday that Oklahomans "must continue to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19."

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Governor Kevin Skitt of Oklahoma has declared a state of emergency as the state attempts to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Donald trump declares sunday national day of prayer : 'we are a country The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 1Jn 5:16 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray , and God will give that person life.

The day of prayer will take place on Thursday, and Stitt called on Oklahomans of "all faiths and religious backgrounds to join together."

The governor also asked churches and houses of worship to take precautions to contain the virus's spread and to provide hope to those struggling amid the pandemic.

"I believe our churches and faith communities have an incredible opportunity during this season to provide hope to Oklahomans who are struggling as we close a year that has been mentally, emotionally and physically draining," Stitt said in a press release. "It's important that we continue to find safe ways to gather as we all do our part to protect our families, neighbors and communities from this virus."

The announcement comes as Stitt remains opposed to a statewide mask mandate, while House Democrats and health care workers across the state urge him to issue one.

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COVID -19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 150,000 people in the United States since the start of the pandemic . Nine days later, he tested positive for COVID -19. He added that certain Republican governors were “reaching that proper balance” in reopening schedules.

The COVID -19 pandemic , also known as the coronavirus pandemic , is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID -19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

"As far as a mandate, I've been very clear that I don't think that's the right thing to do. This is a personal responsibility. This is pleading with people to do the right thing," Stitt said during a November 10 news conference.

Though Stitt has encouraged Oklahomans to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public, he wants any decision on a mask mandate left up to municipalities.

But medical officials, including the president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA) and leading health experts from Oklahoma University's College of Medicine and Integris Health, a state-owned health care system, have urged people to wear masks.

"Oklahomans help Oklahomans, and right now, that means wearing a mask. I tell you this in all sincerity, Oklahoma. We are in trouble. Our local and state health care resources are approaching their limits," Integris Chief Medical Officer Julie Watson said on November 10.

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A month earlier, OSMA President George Monks tweeted that "we need face mask mandates to protect more of our Oklahoma citizens."

During the November 10 news conference, House Democrats joined health care workers in asking Stitt to issue a mask mandate.

"Governor Stitt says he's asking Oklahomans to do the right thing and protect each other. Well, governor, we're asking you to do the right thing. Protect Oklahomans by enacting a statewide mask order," Democratic House Minority Leader Emily Virgin said during the news conference.

As of December 1, Oklahoma has had at least 197,745 cases and 1,743 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

The past week has seen an average of 2,839 cases per day, an increase of 8 percent from the average just two weeks earlier.

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In response to the governor's prayer announcement, Virgin tweeted that she hopes "our government leaders find the courage and wisdom to do more" to curb the spread of the virus.

"I pray every day for Oklahomans who are fighting COVID and for the medical professionals treating them. I also pray every day that our government leaders find the courage and wisdom to do more to save lives and slow the spread of this awful virus," she wrote.

Newsweek reached out to the state's House Democrats and Stitt for additional comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Montana Pro-Maskers Worried New GOP Guv Will Undo Restrictions .
Montana’s Democratic governor had a plan to fight the pandemic, starting with mask mandates. Now he’s on his way out, replaced by a Republican with an uneven track record on the virus and no clear plan yet for how to proceed. That’s left some in this state nervous, especially because COVID-19 is already on a tear in Montana. That uncertainty has left Scott Wetzel, an associate professor of immunobiology at the University of Montana, scared about what potentially lies ahead for the state.

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