More Than Half of States With Rising COVID Deaths Have This in Common
The coronavirus is becoming more deadly in 12 states that have refused to issue this kind of order.
Coronavirus case numbers started to surge in most states over the past few weeks, especially in the southern region of the country. And now, to follow, the death rate is following suit. According to The New York Times, daily COVID deaths are on the rise in 22 states. And out of those 22, more than half of these states have one thing in common: they don't have a statewide face mask mandate.
According to a Health Affairs study from June, statewide mask mandates helped curb nearly 230,000 to 450,000 coronavirus cases between April and May. There are 12 states out of the 22 where new deaths are increasing that don't have statewide mask mandates. And three of the remaining 10—Alabama, Louisiana, and Montana—just issued statewide mask mandates this week, meaning that their impact isn't being reflected yet statistically. For more on why face coverings are important, check out These Were the First States to Mandate Masks. Here's How They're Doing.
Behind California and Texas, Florida—which has been dubbed the new epicenter for the virus—has the highest number of new daily deaths in the country, per The New York Times. Florida has recorded more than 4,520 total deaths from the coronavirus, reaching a daily high for new deaths on July 14 with 132. Despite the rising numbers, Gov. Ron DeSantis has evaded requests for a statewide mask mandate—the latest coming from Miami-Dade County mayors, who said they may need to start rolling back reopening if things don't improve quickly over the next two weeks. And for more on hard-hit areas, check out Texas and Florida Are Taking This Major Step to Get Coronavirus Numbers Down.
Arizona has made headlines for its disastrous coronavirus surge over the past weeks, with The New York Times reporting it to be the one place in the entire world with the most new daily coronavirus cases per capita—even more than any country in the world. According to the outlet's data, Arizona falls right behind Florida for new daily coronavirus deaths and has reported almost 2,500 total. The spike has prompted many Arizona mayors, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, to send a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey requesting a statewide mask mandate, but the letter has gone unanswered by the governor thus far.
Not only does Georgia not have a statewide mask mandate, but on July 16, Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order banning counties and cities in the state from enforcing their own mask orders. Meanwhile, Georgia's coronavirus death stats are steadily increasing. The state's coronavirus death total has broken 3,000 already. And for a breakdown of who is wearing masks and why, check out This Is Who Is Actually the Least Likely to Wear a Mask.
South Carolina daily deaths per capita number is rising, as well. The New York Times has reported that the state's seven-day average for new deaths has maintained around 20 for most of July, with the state nearing nearly 1,000 total coronavirus deaths. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has also refused to issue a statewide mask mandate, calling them unenforceable.
"I cannot enforce, the state authorities cannot enforce a statewide mandate for masks on five million people," McMaster said during a press conference on July 10, without elaborating on why that's the case. And for more on South Carolina, check out The COVID Outbreak Is Worse in This State Than It Is in Entire Countries.
Mississippi has attributed more than 1,300 deaths to the coronavirus, and that number has consistently risen over the last two weeks. On July 7, the state reached a new daily high of 44 reported deaths in one day. Yet, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has remained adamantly against enforcing a statewide mask mandate, saying that he believes people will simply neglect a statewide order.
While Tennessee is allowing counties to issue their own mask requirements, Gov. Bill Lee has not indicated that he plans to issue a statewide mandate, as he hasn't issued any new statewide actions since May, The Tennessean reports. However, Tennessee has a lot of reason to take new action. Not only have the state's daily coronavirus case numbers risen consistently during the month of July, they've also seen almost 800 total coronavirus deaths, reaching a new daily high July 9 with 22.
Not only does Iowa not have a statewide mask mandate, but local governments within the state might not even have the power to issue their own under Gov. Kim Reynolds' statewide emergency declarations, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports. Iowa's death rate is back on the rise, peaking for the first time since the very beginning of June with 18 new deaths on July 15, bringing the overall total to almost 800 coronavirus deaths.
Utah's daily new coronavirus cases have jumped exponentially in the last month, and the death rate is also increasing. The state reached a high for new deaths per capita on July 14 with 10 new deaths in one day, pushing the state over the 200 total death mark. And while Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is pushing Utahns to voluntarily wear masks to lower numbers, he says he won't issue a statewide order.
"At this time, I choose not to make it a mandate," Herbert said during a press conference July 9. "I'm going to give the people of Utah an opportunity to show the kind of people, the character that they are, which I believe we've demonstrated in times past."
Oklahoma is seeing an increase in coronavirus deaths daily, reaching nearly 450 total deaths. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate, and he became the first governor in the country to announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on July 15—but that hasn't changed his stance.
"We respect people's rights… to not wear a mask," Stitt said during a virtual news conference on July 15. "You just open up a big can of worms. A lot of businesses are requiring it, and that's fine. I'm just hesitant to mandate something that I think is problematic to enforce."
While health care leaders in the state beg for a mask mandate, Gov. Brad Little has yet to budge, with his spokeswoman Marissa Morrison saying in a statement July 14 that he "has no plans for a statewide mask mandate in Idaho at this time." However, coronavirus deaths are on the rise for the state. Idaho reported eight new deaths on July 15, the most the state has seen for a single day during the course of the entire pandemic. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The daily tally of coronavirus deaths is increasing in South Dakota. On July 10, the state recorded 10 new deaths for one day, the highest it's seen since the pandemic started. But seeing as South Dakota was one of the only states to never fully shut down, Gov. Kristi Noem's decision not to issue a statewide mask mandate is not surprising.
"No. People should have the freedom to wear masks if it makes them feel safe, but the science on masks is very mixed," Noem tweeted on July 9 in response to a question about whether or not there should be a national mask mandate—making it clear South Dakotans won't be seeing a statewide order any time soon, either.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis just reversed his stance on a statewide mask mandate this afternoon, on July 16—but it won't go into effect until midnight. His decision to issue a mandate for indoor public spaces comes as Colorado's numbers have started rising again. The state is nearing 2,o00 total coronavirus deaths and they have started to rise again. This uptick comes after Colorado had actually seen a decrease in new deaths at the end of the month of May, as The Denver Post reported.