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Disney, Vegas, Apple are among those requiring new mask mandates

Mask requirements return to many vacation spots, work places and schools.

Staff Video, USA TODAY

The U.S. likely won’t see the lockdowns that plagued the nation last year despite surging infections, but “things are going to get worse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday.

Fauci, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” noted that half of Americans have been vaccinated. That, he said, should be enough people to avoid drastic measures. But not enough to crush the outbreak.

“We are looking, not I believe to lockdowns, but to some pain and suffering in the future,” Fauci said. 

Fauci acknowledged that some breakthrough infections are occurring among the vaccinated. No vaccine is 100% effective, he noted. But he stressed the Biden administration’s recurring theme that vaccinated people who do become infected are less likely to become seriously ill than unvaccinated people who become infected.

“From the standpoint of illness, hospitalization, suffering and death, the unvaccinated are much more vulnerable,” Fauci said. “The unvaccinated, by not being vaccinated, are allowing the propagation and the spread of the outbreak.”

The CDC has brought back mask guidelines for vaccinated individuals in areas of substantial spread of the virus.

“That has much more to do with transmission,” Fauci said of the new guidelines. “You want them to wear a mask, so that if in fact they do get infected, they don’t spread it to vulnerable people, perhaps in their own household, children or people with underlying conditions.”

The return of mask mandates is drawing resistance similar to what vaccine mandates have drawn. Florida, despite experiencing record-breaking infection numbers, has imposed limits on local mask rules. And the Biden administration’s new policy requiring federal workers to wear masks has drawn some blowback from unions, including those that encourage their rank and file to wear masks.

“Our union plans to negotiate the particulars before any new policy is implemented,” tweeted the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 700,000 government workers.

Also in the news:

► A lawsuit filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union and local organizations alleges the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California misspent nearly $5 million in federal funds intended as COVID0-19 relief. The suit claims the department spent the money on flooring, office furniture, door keypads, cameras and bulletproof windows, which the defendants argue were measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID.

►Thousands in France protested Saturday against a new measure that would require people to present a “green pass” certifying that they have been vaccinated, received a negative COVID-19 test, or recovered from a recent infection in order to enter most public spaces. Most protests were peaceful, but riot police clashed with some protesters in Paris.

►More than 100 students at a charter school in Atlanta are in quarantine after the first week of classes. At least two students and two staff members members tested positive for COVID-19 at Drew Charter School on Wednesday, school officials announced Friday. Students went back to school Tuesday.

►Despite every other U.S. swimmer wearing a mask during interviews with journalists, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has allowed unvaccinated swimmer Michael Andrew to not wear a mask. Citing the Tokyo playbook of COVID-19 protocols released in June, the USOPC said athletes can remove their masks for interviews.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 613,133 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 197.7 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 164.4 million Americans — 49.5% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we’re reading: Evidence is mounting about the dangers of the delta variant and how mask-wearing is essential to bring it under control, according to a government slideshow dated Thursday. The delta variant is considered far more contagious than other variants of the virus. Read more.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Florida reported 21,683 new cases in data it released Saturday, the state’s highest one-day total of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Florida has become a hot spot for COVID infections, accounting for about one in five new cases nationwide. It also recorded 409 deaths from the virus this week.

The situation in Florida comes as the CDC has recommended that people nationwide return to masking in public indoor spaces, even if they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, because of rising cases and the high transmissibility of the delta variant. The CDC also recommended that all school personnel and students wear masks.

Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, however, has resisted masking orders and imposed limitations on local officials’ ability to require masks. He also signed an executive order Friday to issue emergency rules for “protecting the rights of parents,” making face masks optional across the state in schools and leaving it up to parents.

Tenants saddled with months of back rent are facing the end of the federal eviction moratorium, a move that could lead to millions being forced from their homes just as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading.

The Biden administration announced Thursday it would allow the nationwide ban to expire, saying it wanted to extend it due to rising infections but its hands were tied after the U.S. Supreme Court signaled in June that it wouldn’t be extended beyond the end of July without congressional action.

House lawmakers on Friday attempted, but failed, to pass a bill to extend the moratorium even for a few months. Some Democratic lawmakers had wanted it extended until the end of the year.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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