The Latest: Arkansas will encourage, not require, masks

KNWA

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’ll encourage people to wear face masks in public but indicated that he doesn’t plan to enact a statewide requirement.

Hutchinson told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he’s “not going to pass a mandate that is unenforceable.”

He added that residents will be educated about the importance of face coverings to protect others.

His comments came as Arkansas has seen an uptick in the number of reported coronavirus cases. The state health department on Saturday reported at least 570 more cases of the virus and 10 more deaths, bringing the number of reported cases to 19,310 and the death toll to 259.

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PHOENIX — Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far.

It was also the seventh time in the last 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also reported nine additional deaths. That pushes Arizona’s documented COVID-19 totals to nearly 74,000 cases and 1,588 known deaths.

Some Arizona hospitals have begun activating surge plans to increase their capacity to treat COVID-19 patients as confirmed cases rise and more people seek treatment.

Arizona became a coronavirus hot spot following Gov. Doug Ducey’s lifting of stay-home orders last month.

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NEW YORK — Five people died Saturday from the coronavirus in New York state, a death toll Gov. Andrew Cuomo called “the lowest number we have had since this started.”

Saturday’s total compared with 13 fatalities the day before as the number of fatalities caused by the virus continues to plummet in the state. During the peak of the pandemic in April, nearly 800 people were dying a day from coronavirus.

The governor cautioned, however, that the numbers could spike again if New Yorkers let down their guard down and fail to follow social distancing and mask-wearing requirements.

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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus have risen to more than 138,000, including 2,456 deaths.

Those figures were released Sunday evening by the government. South Africa’s cumulative total of reported cases represents more than 30% of the more than 371,500 cases reported by Africa’s 54 countries.

Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize warned that the country is entering a period of surging cases and hospitalizations that he said will soon be “exponential” and will push the country’s hospitals to their limit. Mkhize warned that spikes are expected in mines, factories and schools that are reopening.

South Africa is relaxing its lockdown restrictions to encourage a resumption of economic activity.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Virus cases worldwide hit 10 million

— Businesses weigh reopening – or close again – as reported virus cases rise

— Experts look to set expectations on any virus vaccine

— Experts see no proof of child-abuse surge amid pandemic

— A divided Poland holds presidential vote delayed by pandemic, while France holds municipal elections.

— Nurses, doctors feel strain as virus races through Arizona

— The pandemic means that millions of women in Africa and other developing regions could lose years of success in contributing to household incomes, asserting their independence and expanding financial inclusion.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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