As U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit 3.5 Million, Officials Scramble to Add Restrictions


According to The Associated Press, the ban on local face-mask requirements would affect orders by at least 15 local governments in the state.

The state’s seven-day average of new cases jumped to nearly 3,000 on Tuesday from 1,900 on July 1. Hospitalizations in the state have also been rising, and the governor said last week that a shuttered temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta would be reopened.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, on Wednesday issued an order requiring people to wear masks in public. The state on Wednesday reported 47 deaths, its record for a single day. In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said that he was also issuing a mask order.

The private sector took steps as well: Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, said it would require all customers to wear masks, beginning on Monday. The grocery chain Kroger also said its customers had to to wear masks starting July 22.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, warned of “an unsettling climb” in new cases and moved to reduce seating capacity in restaurants and to limit the size of gatherings. And in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, said that she was willing to reverse course and tighten restrictions again. “I won’t just turn the car around,” she said. “I’m going to shut it off, I’m going to kick you out and I’m going to make you walk home.”

Oklahoma hit a single-day record for cases on Wednesday, with 1,075, and the state’s governor, Kevin Stitt, announced that he had tested positive, becoming the first governor known to be infected with the coronavirus. Mr. Stitt, a Republican, has attended many public events and has often been photographed in public while not wearing a mask, including at an indoor rally for President Trump that was held in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20.

He said that he did not know where, when or how he had contracted the virus, and that his infection had not prompted him to second-guess his response to the outbreak.



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