With the Delta variant tearing through unvaccinated communities, Florida reported this weekend its highest one-day total of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Yesterday, the state broke its previous record for hospitalizations, also set more than a year ago.
It comes after Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, signed an executive order prohibiting school districts from requiring staff and students to wear masks. “The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said.
The mask executive order is the latest in anti-Covid restriction moves that DeSantis has made, including outlawing vaccine passports and stripping local authorities of the power to issue restrictions or mandates.
Florida has become the new US center of the virus, accounting for about one-fifth of new cases. Only about 48.8% of residents over 12 have been fully vaccinated, with 57.5% having received at least one dose.
Anthony Fauci, the chief White House medical adviser, defended the mask mandate, telling CBS’s Face the Nation that wearing masks to combat Covid was a “responsibility to society”.
In Florida, courthouses, theme parks and numerous businesses are again requiring the public to wear masks indoors. Disney World has a vaccine requirement for its workers, while Universal Orlando Resort said all workers have to be masked indoors and that guests should follow CDC guidance.
While the US won’t issue a vaccine mandate, states and local jurisdictions legally can, experts say. But expect pushback.
Trump’s money-hustling tricks post-presidency prompt fresh scrutiny
The questionable fundraising and spending of Donald Trump’s new political action committee, Save America, coupled with his class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google and Twitter that tell supporters they can join the lawsuit by donating, are just a few of Trump’s post-presidency moves that are raising eyebrows.
Kinzinger: McCarthy, Jordan should face Capitol attack panel
Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, went on ABC’s This Week yesterday to say he will support subpoenas for testimony from Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader, as well as senior members of his party.
That would include the Republican congressman Jim Jordan – he and McCarthy are known to have spoken to Trump on 6 January.
Kinzinger, however, suggested a subpoena for Trump would be unlikely, given what he described to be the former president’s habit of lying.
Other Republicans are voicing discontent with McCarthy and his handling of the committee. Senator Susan Collins told CNN’s State of the Union yesterday: “I do not think it is right for the speaker to decide which Republicans should be on the committee.”
Texans march on capitol to protect voting rights
Texans are in the fight of their generation, demonstrating and rallying against the most restrictive voting processes in the country. In marching on the capitol this weekend, they are appealing to Washington, where federal voting protections have stalled in the US Senate.
In other news …
Stat of the day: there were 39.7m background checks for gun purchases in 2020
The number of background checks for gun purchases in 2020 was more than double the number in 2010. With a run on guns that many store owners are attributing to pandemic fears over crime and safety, US dealers are facing an ammunition shortage.
Don’t miss: the significance of right to repair
To protect their intellectual property, companies frequently withhold the information and tools needed to repair their products from consumers – some warranties outright ban third parties from tinkering with certain devices. But when devices break, they need fixing. A farmer, a medical worker and a computer store owner spoke to the Guardian about how Joe Biden’s recent executive order calling on federal agencies to prioritize consumers’ “right to repair” their own devices could change their lives for the better.
Climate check: working from home may not work
It was always assumed that remote work, with no rush-hour commute or bumper-to-bumper traffic, was better for the environment. But climate calculations comparing remote work and in-office work are more complicated than mere commute observations.
Last Thing: boys to men
The #MeToo movement has made clear the price of toxic masculinity and unchecked male privilege. That has left many parents scrambling, unsure yet determined to raise well-adjusted boys into well-adjusted men. One father consulted the experts to find out how to make sure he brings up his young son in a way that is fit for the 21st century.
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