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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

Oct 24, 2020 - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began

Expand chart
COVID Tracking Project

The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic started, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

By the numbers: Friday's total surpassed the U.S.'s previous record set on July 17 when 76,842 cases were recorded. 

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.