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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Former Vice President Mike Pence and Idaho Gov. Brad Little in 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) on Friday repealed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin's (R) executive order that banned statewide mask mandates one day earlier, calling her action an "an abuse of power."

The big picture: While Little — who is expected to seek re-election — never issued a statewide mask mandate, some were put in place in counties, cities and schools. McGeachin, who recently announced her own gubernatorial campaign, issued the order on Thursday without informing Little's office.

  • McGeachin is " a member of the far-right who has worked to undermine Little’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic," AP writes.

What he's saying: "I have opposed a statewide mask mandate all along because I don’t think top-down mandates change behavior the way personal choice does," Little said in a statement Friday.

  • "But, as your Governor, when it came to masks, I also didn’t undermine separately elected officials who, under Idaho law, are given authorities to take measures they believe will protect the health and safety of the people they serve," he added.
  • "An executive order that was issued while I was out of state this week runs contrary to a basic conservative principle — the government closest to the people governs best."
  • "The executive order usurps legislative powers. It replicates a bill that was debated considerably in the Legislature but failed, making law with the stroke of a pen. The action that took place while I was traveling this week is not gubernatorial. The action that took place was an irresponsible, self-serving political stunt."

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2021 - Health

Texas school temporarily closes after two teachers die from COVID-19 in a week

American and Texas state flag. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A school in Texas closed for the rest of the week on Tuesday after two teachers died from COVID-19 within a week, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports.

State of play: The campus at Connally Junior High School won't open until after Labor Day for deep sanitation, after sixth-grade social studies teacher Natalia Chansler died on Aug. 28, having notified the school three days earlier that she tested positive for COVID-19.

Sep 2, 2021 - Health

Israeli coronavirus vaccine booster data gives the U.S. hope

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Preliminary Israeli data shows that coronavirus booster shots quickly spike a person's protection against both severe disease and infection, suggesting that the additional shots could help blunt the virus' spread in the U.S. — although it's very unclear how much.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has said that the main rationale for its booster push is to stay ahead of any waning of the vaccines' effectiveness against severe disease. But slowing the spread of the Delta variant would be a welcome bonus.

Sep 2, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Mu COVID variant not an "immediate threat" to U.S.

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said at a press briefing Thursday that the coronavirus variant Mu, which the World Health Organization is now tracking, does not pose an immediate threat to the U.S.

Driving the news: WHO added the Mu strain, first detected in Colombia in January, to its "Variants of Interest" list Monday, warning that early data suggest it may be more resistant to protection from prior infection or vaccination.

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