US Missouri AG Says He'll Sue to Stop 'Insanity' of New Mask Mandate as Delta Variant Hammers State
New York Mayor Touts Vaccine Effort Success as Delta Variant Cases Rise
New York City's COVID-19 positivity rate is at 1.3 percent after weeks of all-time lows. The seven-day average number of daily confirmed cases has increased to 288. De Blasio said the city still has more work to do to ensure New Yorkers get vaccinated. "We know the challenge," the mayor said during the media availability. "We understand the challenge of the Delta variant. We understand that challenge is particularly clear and sharp for unvaccinated people—that's where the problem is.
As cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant surge in Missouri, the state's attorney general said Friday that he'll sue to stop a newly instated mask mandate in St. Louis and St. Louis County.
Eric Schmitt, a Republican, tweeted late Friday that the St. Louis citizens "are not subjects — they are free people. As their Attorney General I'll be filing suit Monday to stop this insanity."
Local officials unveiled the mask mandate Friday and said they will take effect Monday. Under the new mandate, people will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces and on public transportation, said the St. Louis health department.
Kentucky Gov. Pushes for Masks After Fully-Vaxxed Lawmakers Catch COVID Amid Delta Surge
"The Delta variant is serious and it is even a deadly threat to non-vaccinated Kentuckians," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.During a press conference on Monday, Beshear said after months of dropping case rates, Kentucky is now seeing a rise in positive coronavirus cases, likely driven by the more contagious Delta variant. There has also been an increase in hospitalizations.
"We've lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn't work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems," Dr. Fredrick Echols, St. Louis' acting director of health, said in a statement Friday.
Echols said the city and county were taking a "joint step to save lives, make sure hospitals can provide the care residents rely on, and protect our children so they can enjoy a full range of educational opportunities this year."
The new mask mandate—and Schmitt's threat to halt them—comes as Missouri and other states are grappling with a spike of COVID cases brought on by the highly-infectious Delta variant.
On Wednesday, Missouri saw its highest daily COVID case total since mid-January, with health officials reporting 2,995 additional cases, according to the Kansas City Star.
Delta variant spreads globally as Covid cases soar
With low global vaccination rates, the variant's spread is threatening to overwhelm health systems.It is expected to become the dominant variant globally in the coming months, with the WHO predicting that there could be more than 200 million confirmed cases within a matter of weeks.
In late June, the Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy said the state was at that time leading the nation in new COVID infections because of the Delta variant and a low vaccination rate.
Schmitt's office did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment for this story.
Schmitt also sued St. Louis County in May over COVID restrictions, including outdoor mask requirements. But officials lifted the restrictions shortly after the suit was filed, according to local station KDSK.
Schmitt is running to fill the U.S.seat of Roy Blunt, who is not running for re-election in 2022.
In a statement, the office of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones blasted Schmitt over his planned legal action.
"Our priority is to protect the health and well being of the people of St. Louis City and County, and it's unfortunate that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit which only serves his own political ambitions and not the public's health," said Nick Dunne, a public information officer in the mayor's office.
In recent days, several local governmentshave also reimposed mask mandates, or strongly encouraged people to wear masks in public.
The U.K.’s Delta Surge Is Collapsing. Will Ours? .
Why the variant’s spread may be less pervasive than we currently expect.To those who’d been following the science of Delta closely, the slides didn’t break much news. We’ve known for a while that Delta is dramatically more transmissible than the “wild” strain of SARS-CoV-2 and much more transmissible than even some of the earlier variants, also distinguished by their transmissibility. And there’d been signs for a week or so that, while vaccines were doing remarkably well protecting against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, and pretty well protecting against symptomatic disease, they were doing less well in protecting against transmission.