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Covid-19

DeSantis, Leading Republicans Slam CDC's Updated Mask Guidance

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the American Legislative Exchange Council Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Salt Lake City.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the American Legislative Exchange Council Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Salt Lake City.

A day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 16,000 new cases of coronavirus in Florida, Republicans governors — including Florida's Ron DeSantis — are responding with hostility to new masking guidance from public health officials.

It's opening a new front in the cultural war over COVID-19 restrictions just as efforts to try to persuade large swaths of unvaccinated Americans to get the shots appeared to be making headway.

DeSantis joined fellow Republicans in Salt Lake City to denounce lockdowns, restrictions, and other mandates.

Despite the CDC report, which reports Florida had the highest daily number of new cases since January, DeSantis told the American Legislative Exchange Council on Wednesday that Americans are free to live their lives free of government-imposed restrictions.

"They should not be consigned to live in a Faucian dystopia in which we're governed by the whims of bureaucratic authorities who care little for our freedoms, little for our aspirations and little for our happiness," DeSantis said.

Tuesday was the seventh consecutive day in which Florida reported more than 12,000 new cases, and came as the CDC recommended that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors if they live in areas with high rates of virus transmission.

The Republican governors from Texas to South Dakota slammed the advice as wrong-headed. And on Capitol Hill, clashes between members devolved into insults and screaming matches.

Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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