White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a press conference on June 17. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

White House staff will be recommended, but no longer required to wear a face mask while traveling through the West Wing, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The White House required masks for staff members in May after multiple people tested positive for the coronavirus, including Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, and Trump's personal valet.

The big picture: Some states' requirements that face masks be worn in public may have led to hundreds of thousands of fewer coronavirus cases than there would have been without the mandates, according to a study in Health Affairs.

  • And yet wearing masks has become a political touchpoint in the culture war over containing the coronavirus.
  • 76% of Democrats say they wear a mask when leaving home, compared to 59% of Republicans, according to a poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Go deeper: Trump campaign says all Tulsa rally attendants will be provided with masks

Go deeper

Feinstein proposes withholding relief funds from states without mask mandates

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.

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

A consensus is finally emerging on masks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four months after the first lockdowns, there's a real possibility of a nationwide consensus on face masks.

Why it matters: As is increasingly the case in our fractured society, states and businesses led the way, finally followed by the federal government.

Jul 14, 2020 - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.