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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced Monday that the state is reinstating a temporary indoor mask mandate for all people ages 5 and older.

Why it matters: The move comes as the highly contagious Delta variant drives up COVID-19 cases across the country and the state struggles with a low vaccination rate.

The big picture: Louisiana is currently experiencing its "worst surge of the COVID-19 pandemic so far in terms of case growth rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations," per a press release from the governor's office.

  • The indoor mask mandate, intended to stem a fourth wave of the virus, will stay in place until September 1, with the possibility of extension if necessary, according to the press release.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be required to mask indoors at K-12 schools, universities, and other higher education institutions, per the press release.
  • In July, New Orleans officials issued a public health advisory "strongly recommending" that people wear face masks indoors.

What they're saying: “It has never been more clear that we are in an unchecked COVID surge that, in addition to threatening the health and wellbeing of many Louisianans, also threatens the capacity of our hospitals and medical facilities to deliver care to their patients," Edwards said in the press release.

  • "This decision is not one I take lightly, but as the fourth surge of COVID-19 is upon us, we know that mask wearing when you are in public is one way to greatly lower your risk of spreading or catching COVID," he added.

Go deeper

Sep 19, 2021 - World

Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of children

A child receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a school in Havana on Sept. 16. Photo: Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua via Getty Images

Cuba this week became the first country in the world to begin the mass vaccination of children against the coronavirus, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The effort comes in response to a recent uptick in cases, which led Cuban officials to scrap plans to reopen schools earlier this month.

Updated Sep 19, 2021 - Health

Footage shows new details after NYC restaurant incident over proof of vaccination

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Three tourists were arrested after allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess when she asked for proof of their vaccination status before they could be seated indoors, the New York Times reports.

The latest: On Saturday, lawyers for the restaurant and the three women revealed that the tourists had in fact shown proof of vaccination and been allowed into Carmine's Italian restaurant, according to the Times.

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.

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