More than 30 states are recording an increase in new COVID-19 cases, national security expert Juliette Kayyem told Boston Public Radio on Wednesday. Kayyem said that the "denialists" and "ideologues" who ignored public health recommendations early on will now have to figure out what states in the Northeast did when they experienced their surge in March.
Kayyem said there has been movement among mostly Republican governors who had previously flouted CDC recommendations on mandatory mask wearing.
"With what's happening with Republicans beginning to buy on to a masking policy from [Vice President Mike] Pence, and [(Rep. Liz] Cheney and [Florida Gov. Ron] Desantis, they're not mandatory, but nonetheless, they are now beginning to accept masks," she said. "You're going to see I think as close to a national masking standard as we'll get under this administration."
With that revision in thinking at the state level, Kayyem said, we will also start to see reclosings as cases continue to tick upwards. Texas has closed down bars again amid a rise in cases there, while Desantis has said he's "not going back" on reopening, despite cases on the rise in that state.
"You're left with the governors and mayors, and many of them have risen to the occasion — not without mistakes, you know, it's no fun to have a governor realize too late what they need to do — but nonetheless, you really are seeing federalism at play," she said. "But it really shouldn't be this way. There needed to be national standards."
Juliette Kayyem is an analyst for CNN, former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and faculty chair of the homeland security program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.