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California’s Newsom doubles down (literally) on mask-wearing as he says Texas made ‘terrible mistake’ in lifting mandate

Asking Californians to “get the most out of masking,” the state’s new guidelines recommend an extra cloth covering as a way to “improve fit and filtration,” with Newsom noting the update was prompted by decisions in several states to lift their public masking requirements.

“We are encouraging people basically to double down on mask-wearing, particularly in light of all what I would argue is bad information coming from at least four states in this country. We will not be walking down their path, we’re mindful of your health and our future,” Newsom said on Thursday, insisting California would not “follow the example of Texas and other states that I think are making a terrible mistake.”

The comments and updated virus guidelines follow moves by Texas, Mississippi and Connecticut in recent days to scale back their own mask mandates or lockdown orders. While Texas and Mississippi opted to slash most of their Covid-19 restrictions, Connecticut’s Democratic Governor Ned Lamont retained its masking rule while lifting all capacity limits on businesses.

There’s been some dispute over whether double-masking has any noticeable effect on viral transmission, with top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci stating last month that “there’s no data that indicates that that is going to make a difference.” A little more than a week later, however, the CDC revised its own recommendations to include two masks, explaining that a second layer could help to improve their fit. 

Though recent media reports – some satirical, others not – have suggested that a third mask might offer even more protection from the virus, that was apparently too much for Newsom’s office, which advised that “Layering more than two masks is not recommended as this could be difficult to breathe through.”

To date, California has tallied nearly 3.6 million coronavirus infections and some 53,000 deaths, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. Though Californians are among the youngest on average in the US, the state’s fatality rate is comparable to Florida’s, whose population is much older and where virtually all restrictions have been lifted.

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