Florida, which never once had a mask mandate in place, is reporting the country's lowest number of daily cases per 100,000 with an average of six.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker reinstituted the mask mandate in Illinois last August requiring all residents older than two to wear a mask in indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status.
But the New York Times' coronavirus tracker reported that Illinois is reporting a daily average of 4,661 cases, or 37 per 100,000. That reflects an increase of 45 percent over the last two weeks.
Oregon lifted its controversial outdoor mask mandate this week but it still has an indoor requirement in place. It is reporting a daily average of 806 cases, or 19 per 100,000. (Related: Oregon lifts outdoor mask mandate, effective immediately)
In October, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration in New Mexico extended the statewide mask mandate. Yet, it reported over the weekend a daily average of 1,406 cases, or 67 per capita, representing an increase of five percent in the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, Nevada is reporting a daily average of 21 cases per 100,000 and Washington is reporting a daily average of 18 cases per 100,000. Hawaii is the only state with a mask mandate in place that comes close to Florida, reporting a daily average of seven cases per 100,000.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his long held belief that there should be no mask mandates.
"They should not be mandated. No government entity should force you to do that. That is your choice. If that’s something you believe provides you protection, no one is going to say anything to you. But that should not, absolutely not, be mandated," said DeSantis. (Related: DeSantis terminates all local Covid-19 restrictions, including mask mandates, in Florida.)
Meanwhile, a proposal by health bureaucrats to extend mask wearing rules through Christmas has sparked a furious backlash in New South Wales.
Face coverings could remain mandatory in indoor settings in New South Wales even after the state hits the 95 percent vaccination rate, amid concerns infections will spike in lead up to the busy festive season.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has pledged his support for the mask rule extension beyond mid December with the government tipped to make an announcement with days.
Popular Australian journalist Ben Fordham led the growing chorus of outrage over the proposal.
"It's becoming exhausting I've got to stay. It's supposed to end mid-December. So what's changed? We stopped worrying about case numbers a while ago, remember? That's why we got vaccinated. How long is this going to go on? If we're worried about Christmas shopping, then presumably we're worried about Boxing Day and New Year's sales and on and on it goes," Fordham said.
Masks are also compulsory on public transport, in rideshare vehicle and in common areas of apartment buildings. Queensland scrapped masks in retail settings as soon as the state hit 80 percent single dose vaccination rates.
Fordham recalled how he lasted just one hour on a shopping trip with his kids last weekend before going home because he was fed up with wearing masks.
He issued a public plea for NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to show some common sense by not bowing to the demands of unelected bureaucrats.
'The government has bowed to these health officials too many times. All restrictions were supposed to end at 80 per cent double dose. Then it changed to 95 per cent. Every decision is based on the cautious health advice. Premier please, prove once and for all unelected bureaucrats are not running the show. From December 15, people deserve a choice,'' Fordham said.
Fordham was inundated with support from talkback listeners who want the mask rule scrapped.
''Get rid of the damn masks,'' one said.
Another added: ''Premier needs to stop mask wearing in schools.''
''I've lost all interest in shopping for Christmas because of the masks,'' a third said.
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