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Most Americans support state or local mask mandates, poll shows

Some parents worry Florida schools aren't doing enough to protect their kids from the coronavirus as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) doubles down on his mask mandate ban. (Video: Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)
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As debate over public health mandates simmers across the country, new polling shows that nearly 2 in 3 Americans say they support their state or local government requiring masks in all public places to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Axios-Ipsos poll released Tuesday found that 64 percent of Americans overall favored such requirements, compared with 35 percent who said they were opposed. Support for masking was even stronger when it came to requiring face coverings at school. Pollsters found that 69 percent of Americans were supportive of requiring teachers, students and administrators to wear masks.

Nationwide, more than 900,000 new coronavirus cases were reported last week, the most in a single week since January, when infections were soaring and few Americans were vaccinated. The Biden administration is expected to announce that most vaccinated Americans will need coronavirus booster shots.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has been in the spotlight for his attempts to stymie local governments and school districts from implementing mask mandates, has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced Tuesday.
  • Florida education officials on Tuesday voted that two school districts violated state law by requiring students without medical exemptions to wear masks, escalating the fight between Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and local educators.
  • The Transportation Security Administration will extend a federal mask mandate for airline, bus and train passengers until Jan. 18, 2022.
  • Americans pulled back on purchases in July as the fast-spreading delta variant introduced a new level of uncertainty to an economy struggling against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Justice Department charged a Chicago pharmacist with selling vaccine cards online — an illegal scheme that law enforcement and health authorities worry will become more widespread.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.

Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.

Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.

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