US Breaking with other GOP, Alabama governor extends mask order
Governors' Long Honeymoon of COVID Approval Ratings Is Coming to an End
Democrats and Republican governors of blue states appear to have benefited more from their handling of the virus.But those polling bounces from handling the virus have been eroded over the course of the pandemic, and many governors have seen a substantial drop from their approval rating peaks last spring.
Alabama's governor said Thursday she is extending the state's mask mandate until April 9.
"After April the 9th I will not keep the mask order in effect," Gov. Kay Ivey said at a news conference.
"We've kept the mask mandate in place for more than a generous period of time because it's helped," she said. "We've seen dramatic results and real progress being made."
This week the state reached its lowest average for daily new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations since June, she said.
Overnight Health Care: Experts warn US risks delaying 'normal' summer | Alabama GOP governor extends mask mandate | Senate votes to take up relief bill
Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care, where unlike the Senate clerks we will not be reading aloud all 628 pages of the COVID-19 relief bill. Follow us on Twitter at @PeterSullivan4 and @NateWeixel.The country maybe will be getting back to normal sometime soon, GOP governors are split over lifting coronavirus restrictions, and the Senate voted to take up the $1.9 trillion relief bill. Let's start with where we are on the state of the pandemic: Experts warn US risks delaying 'normal' summerPresident Biden's announcement that there will be enough vaccines for all adults by May is raising hopes the U.S. could soon return to a semblance of normalcy.
"Even with this positive news ... we need to get past Easter and hopefully allow more Alabamians to get their first shot" of the vaccine before removing the mask order, Ivey said.
"If businesses believe wearing masks are important to keeping their doors open & their employees and customers safe -- and many do -- then they’ll have five weeks from today to get ready to impose their own policies," Ivey tweeted.
Ivey also announced the easing of several restrictions: seating limits at restaurants will be loosened; outdoor programs will be allowed at senior centers with safety guidelines; two visitors, instead of one, will be allowed at hospitals and nursing homes; and summer camps can resume.
California Advises Double Masking as Texas, Mississippi Ditch Mandates
As a handful of U.S. states ditch mask mandates amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, health officials in California have doubled down, even suggesting the use of more than one covering.California's health department updated its advice about the most effective use of masks and when to consider "double masking" on Thursday, after Gov. Gavin Newsom said the decision to stop enforcing face covering use in Texas was "absolutely reckless.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth had urged for a lift of the statewide mask mandate,, "I urge Gov. Kay Ivey to immediately lift the statewide mask mandate and allow citizens and local officials the liberty to make the decisions that best fit their circumstances."
The governor said a mask mandate "has been the right thing to do" but she respects those who believe "that was a step too far in government overreach."
Ivey's announcement comes days afterthe end of mask mandates.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday the state's mask mandate would end March 10 and all businesses can reopen at full capacity.
"It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott said. "COVID has not suddenly disappeared ... but it is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices that Texas are using, that state mandates are no longer needed."
Study shows link between mask mandates, reduced COVID-19 spread
A CDC study found that mask mandates were linked to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and allowing dining at restaurants was linked to an increase in both. Your browser does not support this video The findings come as some states, including Texas and Mississippi, have recently made moves to lift their mask mandates and other restrictions, like dining capacity. The CDC report, published Friday, examined the association of state mask mandates and orders allowing restaurants to reopen with COVID-19 cases and deaths. Researchers found that, from March 1 to Dec. 31, mask mandates were associated with a 0.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves also announced Tuesday that county mask mandates would be lifted and businesses can "operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules."
"Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed," Reeves tweeted. "It is time!"
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday called Abbott's decision "ill-advised."
"It is really quite risky," Fauci said in a livestream with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Marc Perrone.
"If you look at the amount of infection that is in the community right now, even though the slope is coming down sharply, if you look at the last seven day average, it’s plateaued," Fauci said. "That’s a dangerous sign because when that has happened in the past, when you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you’ve seen a surge back up."
President Joe Biden on Wednesday
"I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.
"And the last thing, the last thing, the last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask," Biden said. "It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science."
ABC News' Erin Schumaker contributed to this report.
Texas Official Sees No Reason for State Removing Mask Mandate to Claim 'Premature Victory' .
"There's no reason why to open ourselves up to unnecessary death, unnecessary hospitalization, just for the sake of wanting to claim a premature victory," Judge Lina Hidalgo said."There's no reason why to open ourselves up to unnecessary death, unnecessary hospitalization, just for the sake of wanting to claim a premature victory," Hidalgo told host Lisa Desjardins on the PBS NewsHour.