In Kentucky, the Republican attorney general on Thursday asked a state court to block a mask-wearing order from the Democratic governor. He also is trying to block social-distancing restrictions and business-occupancy limits. And in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp this week ordered the suspension of local mask requirements, saying municipal officials can’t impose stricter measures than his own.

‘Slow-Turning Supertanker’
Across the country, in Los Angeles, lockdowns may not be needed immediately, said Robert Kim-Farley, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Los Angeles. He said the county could wait until early August to decide. By then, he expects the effects of pull-backs -- including the recent closure of bars and indoor dining -- will decrease hospitalizations.

“It’s like a slow-turning supertanker,” he said. “You turn things on, and it take a few weeks before you see the results. Then you try to correct those results, but it takes another two to three weeks to see the results of that correction.”

Such corrections keep coming. Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez on Thursday closed for a second time the island’s bars, movie theaters and casinos, even as she acknowledged the economic pain her orders would inflict.

Earlier in the pandemic, Vazquez implemented some of the U.S.’s most drastic measures to curb the virus, and she had just begun to officially welcome tourists back this week. But cases and hospitalizations have spiked, prompting renewed restrictions.

“These measures are very difficult for us to take because we know there is a part of the economy that has been hurt and will be hurt,” she said. “But as I’ve said before, the most important thing is everyone’s life and the safety of our people.”

Officials still face resistance from people who consider masks an overreaction, or an infringement of their rights, as well as from young residents convinced the virus won’t seriously hurt them if they catch it. And they acknowledge that many Americans have grown weary of fighting the pandemic. Now, they may be forced to fight.

“It felt like we were maybe over half of the way there. I know we felt like we somehow had eradicated the danger of Covid-19,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week. He has explicitly warned of another stay-home order if cases overwhelm local hospitals. “We did the right thing before, and now we need to do the right thing again.”

--With assistance from Brian Eckhouse, Shruti Date Singh, Alexander Ebert and Jonathan Levin.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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