Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio instate sweeping coronavirus mask rules

USA

Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio are the latest states to mandate state-wide mask rules Wednesday, following a spike in coronavirus cases across the country.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that starting Monday, anyone over the age of eight will be required to wear a mask while inside any public or business building.  Masks are also required in outdoor public spaces when social distancing measures cannot be safely practiced.

An executive order was signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, requiring all Minnesotans to wear masks when in public and business buildings starting Saturday.

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that mask rules will be extended statewide for anyone over the age of 10 starting Thursday. The Republican had originally resisted expanding the mask mandate to encompass the entire state, but noted a recent rise in coronavirus cases in counties around the state.

The U.S. has reported the highest rate of COVID-19 in the world with over 3.9 million cases and nearly 143,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins data.

President Trump held a second coronavirus briefing Wednesday, just one day after his first briefing in several months, where he encouraged Americans to wear a mask. Trump had previously refused to wear a mask in public until recently.

During the Wednesday briefing, the president explained why coronavirus cases have spiked nationwide. He said cases started to rise amongst young Americans “shortly after demonstrations,” referring to the nationwide protests that erupted after the death of George Floyd in police custody.

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Adding that the protests “presumably triggered a broader relaxation of mitigation efforts nationwide.”

Trump also said that increased travel around the Memorial Day and the start of summer break likely added to the increase in coronavirus cases.

“Young people closely congregating at bars and probably other places, maybe beaches,” also attributed to the recent spikes in coronavirus cases he said.

Health experts have been pointing to the lack of social distancing at bars and social gatherings in Florida and Texas, where there are vast increases in younger demographics contracting the disease, as a potential indicator of why younger age groups are becoming ill.

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The World Health Organization has warned that infection rates are not merely going up because of increased testing capabilities, rejecting Trump’s previous claims, but because the virus is accelerating.

Health experts have warned that there will likely be large spikes in coronavirus related deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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