Chart of the day: Mask mandates in U.S. show division over COVID-19

COVID-19 cases have been climbing steadily in the U.S. since the beginning of July. With the pandemic situation worsening in the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its health guidelines on July 27 and ended the relaxation rules of mask wearing.

According to the new guidance, fully vaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors.

Yet, mask mandates are obstructed when implemented at the state level. A month after the new guidance was put into practice, as of August 27, only eight states in the U.S. had set forth an indoor mask mandate in public regardless of inoculation status, including Oregon, which put forward an additional outdoor mask mandate for everyone.

For the rest of the states, the situation is far from optimistic. Seven states in the country have banned local governments from imposing mask mandates. Florida, one of the states defying mask mandates, even excludes wearing face masks as a suggestion on its health department's COVID-19 prevention page.

Looking back at the country's health guidelines since the onset of the pandemic, it is not the first time that the U.S. has encountered a problem with mask wearing.

The country's former surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, claimed in a tweet that masks are not effective in preventing the general public from catching the coronavirus on February 29, 2020. The tweet was later deleted.

The U.S. CDC also insisted that healthy people don't need to wear a mask in most circumstances until April 3, 2020, more than two months after the country reported its first COVID-19 case.

(Graphics by Wang Xinlei)

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