The commonwealth of Virginia is set to become the first U.S state to require that face masks be worn in public places to deter the spread of coronavirus.
Controversial governor Ralph Northam announced that he’s going to mandate the wearing of facemasks in all public places where people congregate during a Tuesday press conference. The Democrat is requiring their use in retail spaces, government facilities, and public transportation. They’re also required in restaurants, except for when people are eating.
The facemask requirement is apparently going to be enforced by Virginia’s Health Department as opposed to law enforcement. The governor’s chief of staff described what he feared would be “tremendous equity issues” if the rule was enforced by law.
Considering it’s doubtful Virginia’s Health Department has the resources or power to ensure that every citizen of the state wear a facemask in all public places, it looks likely that the rule is more of a broad suggestion than a serious public health requirement.
While Northam is requiring that everyday citizens of the state wear facemasks, he hasn’t been so cautious. The controversial governor was caught at the shorefront of Virginia Beach without a facemask, and in close proximity to other people in a fashion that violated social distancing guidelines. The governor later apologized and took responsibility for his refusal to abide by his own health rules.
China Administered Anal Swab COVID Tests to US Diplomats, Says They Were Done “In Error” After State Department Complaint
The State Department says it never agreed to have US diplomats undergo anal swab testing.
After subjecting US diplomats to anal swab COVID-19 tests, the Chinese government has said the tests were “in error” and that they would stop administering them.
A State Department spokesperson told VICE News that the department “never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it.”
The Chinese government responded by claiming that the anal swab tests were given “in error.” Although they are required for incoming travelers in certain parts of China, diplomats are supposed to be exempt.
China also said “we have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past.” If true, the diplomats either willingly took the anal swab test or simply forgot that they had the option to decline. But it is also possible that they were never told they could decline, or that the authorities forced them rather than “asked” them.
Some Chinese authorities maintain that anal swab testing is more effective than traditional testing procedures like throat and nose swabs, though there is disagreement on that matter:
Officials in Beijing are using anal swabs to test for COVID-19 in children as young as nine years old, arguing that this manner of testing is more effective than traditional measures.
Li Tongzeng, who works as deputy director in charge of infectious disease for Beijing You’an Hospital, is claiming that COVID-19 lasts longer in the anus. This is the public health reason being used to violate children in China.
Yang Zhanqiu, who works as deputy director for the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, believes that anal swabs are not adequate for testing. He argues that nasal and throat swabs are more effective because the virus is typically contracted through the upper respiratory tract.
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