Even though COVID-19 offers no less threat than when limits were put in place, Democrats in certain blue states are rushing to remove them.
Illinois and New York were the last two Democrat-run states to eliminate statewide mask laws, but keep school mask rules in place.
After conducting focus groups, “Mr. Murphy’s advisers were struck by the findings: Across the board, voters shared frustrations over public health measures, a sense of pessimism about the future and a deep desire to return to some sense of normalcy.” https://t.co/pEInZDEAYk
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 9, 2022
Other Democrat governors, in New Jersey and Connecticut, dropped school mask restrictions this week; this shows a change in their views on a divisive part of the pandemic policy.
New York, California, and New Jersey
Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York changed a state law that required people to show proof of immunization or wear a mask inside. Hochul highlighted “tremendous progress” in the battle against COVID-19 for her policy change.
New York, California, and New Jersey are among the blue states lifting COVID restrictions. https://t.co/XsBXRi8laC
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) February 9, 2022
California’s statewide indoor mask rule for people who have been vaccinated will end next week; people who haven’t been vaccinated in California will still have to cover their faces inside.
California’s public health director, Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, noted “prudent revisions to COVID-19 preventative measures” in addition to the establishment of “a longer-term action plan for the state.”
Governor Newsom enacted a statewide indoor mask rule in mid-December, later expanding.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ended the state’s school mask mandate last week, sparking a nationwide discussion about its efficacy. Murphy imposed the rule in early August, just before school resumed.
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and Oregon
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said this week the state’s school mask mandate would be terminated at the end of February. On Monday, Lamont explained his decision to suggest ending the statewide mandate.
In mid-August, Lamont extended the statewide mask requirement for schools.
This Monday, officials in President Biden’s home state of Delaware voted to abolish indoor mask regulations and to do so by spring.
During a statement, Delaware Gov. John Carney said people can now protect themselves from the virus, echoing similar Democrats who used technology that has been available for months as a reason to oppose regulations.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Wednesday that most companies must use indoor masks by Feb. 28. He didn’t repeal the state’s school mask law. Governor Pritzker highlighted declining hospitalization rates as the rationale for his decision.
However, hospitalizations are still significantly higher than before the requirement. The state’s average daily hospitalization rate was 2,146 before the requirement was put in place; it was 3,022 when Pritzker chose to stop it.
Due to the positive COVID-19 results, Oregon lawmakers voted last week to abolish indoor and school mask requirements.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown renewed the indoor mask requirement on Aug. 10. At the time, Oregon had an average of 5.6 COVID-19 fatalities per day.
The state’s declaration came as the average daily COVID-19 mortality rate was more than three times higher, at 21 on Monday.