Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement Thursday that she will introduce an amendment to the Senate's next coronavirus stimulus bill that would withhold federal relief funds from states that do not require people to wear masks in public.

Why it matters: While several states have mandated face coverings in the last two weeks as new coronavirus infections surge across the country, 22 states currently have not issued statewide mask mandates for public settings.

What she's saying: “Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period," Feinstein said. "Leader McConnell said the Senate will take up the next coronavirus economic relief bill later this month. At that time, I intend to offer an amendment to prohibit sending funds to states that haven’t adopted a statewide mask requirement."

  • "Research shows that masks reduce transmission of the coronavirus. CDC Director Redfield said this surge in COVID-19 cases could end within two months if we adopt ‘universal masking.’"
  • "Businesses like Walmart, Kohl’s and Kroger now require masks. And countries that are successfully controlling this virus require masks. So why doesn’t the United States have a national mask mandate?"
  • "My hope has been that other governors would show the leadership to institute their own mask mandates, but so far that hasn’t happened. It’s time for Congress to step in. This is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn’t play a role."

The big picture: Some local governments within states that do not require masks in public have enacted mandates of their own, while other states have rules for people in certain situations, such as taking public transit or entering grocery stores.

  • Some governors, such as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), have not mandated masks in public because they believe a "one-size-fits-all" approach to the pandemic is unnecessarily burdensome on parts of the country that are currently not experiencing surges in new cases.
  • A recent study in Health Affairs found that mask mandates may have averted between 230,000 and 450,000 new coronavirus infections by May 22.

Go deeper ... Map: The states where face coverings are mandatory

Go deeper

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

Georgia governor to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate

Gov. Brian Kemp speaking in Atlanta on Aug. 10. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced Thursday he plans to withdraw a lawsuit that sought to block Atlanta’s face mask mandates and coronavirus restrictions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The decision to withdraw the lawsuit ends the legal feud between Georgia's Republican governor and Atlanta's Democratic leadership, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Other Georgia cities will be able to keep their mask mandates in places for now, per AJC.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.