Kansas: “‘People don’t want to be forced.’ How Kansas mask mandate became political tussle”

July 9, 2020 |BY JONATHAN SHORMAN AND KEVIN HARDY | The Wichita Eagle |

“A week into Gov. Laura Kelly’s statewide mask order, 4 in 10 Kansans don’t have to wear one because their county officials have overruled the mandate, forcing the state to confront rising coronavirus case numbers in a divided fashion.

At least 1 million residents are under no obligation to take a basic precaution public health experts say is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the disease. More than 90 of the state’s 105 counties have opted out of the mandate under a new state law that allows local leaders to follow or discard Kelly’s pandemic-related executive orders.

An analysis of public health data by The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle shows that six of the 10 counties with the most cases have decided against mandatory mask wearing. Nine of the 10 counties with the lowest rates of testing have also opted out.”

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