A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: The letter specifies that state and local officials should ultimately be responsible for implementing face covering requirements, but argues that "a national mask standard, implemented locally, offers the surest way to protect public health and promote economic recovery."

  • "Current local and state mandatory mask requirements vary widely in scope, application, and enforcement," the letter says.
  • "For example, there is variation on whether the mandate applies to all businesses, to just employees or also customers, and exemptions for age or other health conditions (e.g. asthma)."
  • The business leaders argue that leaving the onus on businesses to enforce state-mandated face-covering requirements causes confusion, lowers consumer confidence, and sparks confrontations or litigation between customers and employees.

The bottom line: Scientific evidence shows face masks can help to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the nuances and changes in messaging about their use are complicating public health efforts, Axios' Alison Snyder and Eileen Drage O'Reilly report.

Go deeper: Where the science stands on using face masks against coronavirus

Go deeper

Oct 9, 2020 - Health

Fauci: We had a superspreader event at the White House

Photo: Aeme Jennings/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CBS News Radio on Friday that the "data speak for themselves," there was "a superspreader event at the White House."

Driving the news: Several people who attended the White House's Rose Garden celebration for the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett have tested positive for the coronavirus, including President Trump. Photos and video from the event show that few in attendance wore masks.

Trump says he's off coronavirus treatment medication

President Trump said he has been off coronavirus medication for at least eight hours, in his first televised event since his hospitalization for treatment of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Trump claimed on Fox News that he went to Walter Reed Medical Center because he felt tired and denied that he received supplemental oxygen because he had trouble breathing. White House physician Sean Conley said last week that the president received oxygen after his oxygen saturation level dropped below 94%.

Updated Oct 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Lindsey Graham refuses to take COVID test for Senate debate in SC

Graham talks with reporters in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) refused to take a COVID-19 test as demanded by his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, forcing organizers of Friday's U.S. Senate debate to change the format at the last minute.

Why it matters: If Graham were to test positive for the virus it could delay confirmation hearings on Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.