Governors stress ‘personal responsibility’ over virus orders

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee removes his mask as he begins a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Some governors across the U.S., especially in Republican-leaning states, have been stressing the need for “personal responsibility” to combat the coronavirus instead of issuing statewide mandates to wear masks or avoid large social gatherings.

The ethos has been part of Republican orthodoxy for decades, often used to justify smaller government and promote individualism. But the practical effect of personal appeals over government orders is being questioned as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations soar in Tennessee, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama and other states.

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