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Malaysia warns of more floods as Prime Minister admits lapse in rescue efforts

A local resident walks on a muddy path after floods hit Hulu Langat of Selangor state, Malaysia, on December 21.

Embraer shows four green airliner concepts for more sustainable flying

The Energia designs, which include hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft, are part of an aviation industry pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


Clockwise from top are the Energia H2 Gas Turbine, the H2 Gas Turbine, the Electric and the Hybrid.

Embraer used the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, this week as the occasion to announce a new family of greener airliners that it says will reduce carbon emissions. The four concept aircraft in the Energia family, brooks shoes which range from a hybrid commuter plane to one flying on hydrogen fuel cells, are part of a pledge by the commercial aviation industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The future of aviation must have a lower impact,” Embraer said on its site detailing the plans. “It means lower emissions, lower noise levels and lower fuel consumption.”

John Kerry: COP26 is creating ‘more climate ambition than the world has ever seen’

The US climate envoy says he’s heading to the Glasgow summit as an “optimist.”

John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate, calls COP26 the “last, best chance” for solve the climate crisis.

With four days to go until the UN climate summit known as COP26, John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate, has already declared the conference a success — at least when it comes to ambition.

“Glasgow has already summoned more climate ambition than the world has ever seen,” said Kerry, speaking at an event at the London School of Economics on Thursday. “And in that regard, Glasgow has achieved success.”

Kerry has already called COP26, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, the world’s “last, best chance” to solve the climate crisis. The goal of the summit is to gather the world’s leaders together to support the goal of hoka shoes ensuring temperature change remains “well below” the 2 degrees Celsius agreed to by UN signatories in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Kerry conceded that not all of the world’s countries are fully aligned with what the science says they must do to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis, but added that more countries than ever before are stepping up. He had previously stated that he thought it was possible that countries may not be able to meet the target for cutting fossil fuel emissions at the summit, but said on Thursday that he’s heading into Glasgow “an optimist.”

The former US secretary of state spoke of how being in public life meant making hard decisions every day, where cost and benefit are often closely balanced. “This, my friends, is not a hard choice,” he said. “Addressing the climate crisis is the only choice, and in every way, the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action.”

Reiterating President Biden’s commitment to helping developing countries meet climate targets with a $100 billion fund and increasing support sixfold by 2024, Kerry said it’s important for wealthy countries to stand together with those in the most vulnerable nations. “They did not create this crisis, but they and their people are on the front lines,” he said.

Without equitable, inclusive adaptation plans, said Kerry, it may be that 150 million people a year by 2030 need international humanitarian assistance as a result of climate-related disasters. If those plans are put in place, that number could be hey dude shoes cut to 10 million by 2050 — which, he conceded, is still “too many.”

Kerry also spoke of his own roots as a climate activist back in the 1970s, and “having doors slammed in my face.” He appealed to today’s young climate activists to not let the fight stop after COP26.

“Glasgow is the new beginning of this decisive decade,” he said. “The day after Glasgow, we need you to keep this fight going. And together my friends, let’s get this done. It’s doable.”

Five dead and more injured by man with bow and arrows in Kongsberg

 (via REUTERS)

At least five people have been killed and others injured by a man using a bow and arrows to carry out attacks in a Norwegian town, police have said.

Officers said a suspect had been detained following the incident in Kongsberg on Wednesday and that a probe was underway to establish whether the attack amounted to an act of terrorism.

“The man used a bow and arrow … for some of the attacks,” police chief Oeyvind Aas told reporters on Wednesday. steve madden shoes Officers were investigating whether other weapons had also been used, he said.

“The man has been apprehended … from the information we now have, this person carried out these actions alone,” police chief Oeyvind Aas told reporters, adding: “It’s natural to consider whether this was an act of terror.”

The man has not been questioned yet, and his motive was unknown, Mr Aas said.

Following the attacks, the police directorate said it had immediately ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms. Norwegian police are normally unarmed but officers have access to guns and rifles when needed.

“This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level,” the directorate said in a statement.

The attacks took place over “a large area” of Kongsberg, a municipality of around 28,000 people in southeastern Norway, police said.

The attack began about 6.10pm local time. Police were alerted to the attack around 6.30pm and arrested the suspect about 20 minutes later.

Witnesses reported that the attack began at a Coop Extra store.

“I can confirm that there has been a serious incident in our Coop at Kongsberg,” spokesperson Silje Alisø told VG.

She said that none of their employees are physically injured.

Acting Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attack as “gruesome” and said it was too early to speculate on the man’s motive.

She said the man has been taken to a police station in Drammen but he had not yet been questioned by investigators, who are still working to determine if the attack was an act of terrorism.

The prime minister-designate, ecco shoes Jonas Gahr Stoere, who is expected to take office on Thursday, called the assault “a cruel and brutal act” in comments to Norwegian news agency NTB.

“This is a gruesome incident, there is nothing else to say. Now we must try to take care of the inhabitants as best we can,” town mayor Kari Anne Sand told TV 2.

She said that the attack took place in the Vestiden area, which has housing, shops and a university campus.

Norway’s minister of justice and public security, Monica Maeland, has received updates on the attacks and was closely monitoring the situation, the ministry said.

City officials invited people who were affected by the attack and their relatives to gather for support at a local hotel.

The attack comes over a decade after Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, set off a bomb in Oslo’s government district and then carried out a nike sneakers shooting massacre at the summer camp of the left-wing Labor Party’s youth organisation on Utoya island.

The violence on July 22, 2011, killed 77 people and stunned Norway.

Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum under Norwegian law, but his term can be extended as long as he’s considered a danger to society.

Emily Ratajkowski accuses Robin Thicke of groping her breasts on ‘Blurred Lines’ set: ‘I was nothing more than the hired mannequin’

Emily Ratajkowski accuses singer Robin Thicke of touching her bare breasts while filming the
Emily Ratajkowski accuses singer Robin Thicke of touching her bare breasts while filming the “Blurred Lines” music video.

Emily Ratajkowski says Robin Thicke crossed the line while filming the music video for “Blurred Lines,” a Grammy-nominated song which critics say objectifies women and promotes rape culture.

The Sunday Times reports that Ratajkowski’s upcoming book — brooks shoes My Body, out Nov. 9 — alleges that the singer groped her bare breasts on the set of the 2013 music video, in which she and two other near-naked models appeared alongside Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I.

The 30-year-old actress and model alleges that Thicke took her by surprise by touching her chest “from behind.”

“Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt the coolness and foreignness of a stranger’s hands cupping my bare breasts from behind,” she writes. “I instinctively moved away, looking back at Robin Thicke.

“He smiled a goofy grin and stumbled backward, his eyes concealed behind his sunglasses. My head turned to the darkness beyond the set. [The director, Diane Martel’s] voice cracked as she yelled out to me, “Are you OK?”

Though the alleged moment made her feel “naked for the first time that day,” the Gone Girl star was “desperate to minimize” the situation. She reasoned that Thicke, who has spoken about his past abuse of drugs and alcohol, was “a little drunk” and “didn’t seem to be enjoying clarks shoes uk himself in the same way” on set.

“I pushed my chin forward and shrugged, avoiding eye contact, feeling the heat of humiliation pump through my body,” she writes. “I didn’t react — not really, not like I should have.”

Diane Martel, who directed the video, corroborated Ratajkowski’s account, telling the Times, “I remember the moment that he grabbed her breasts. One in each hand. He was standing behind her as they were both in profile.”

The model and actress claims Thicke appeared to be
The model and actress claims Thicke appeared to be “drunk” during the alleged incident. 

Martel said she responded to the alleged assault by shouting at Thicke, who she claims was drinking, adding, “I don’t think he would have done this had he been sober.”

“I screamed in my very aggressive Brooklyn voice, ‘What the f*** are you doing, that’s it!! The shoot is over!!’” she told the U.K. newspaper, adding that she had taken measures to make women feel comfortable on the set.

“Robin sheepishly apologized,” Martel says. “As if he knew it was wrong without understanding how it might have felt for Emily.”

According to Martel, Thicke’s record company was told the shoot would be halted, though a “very professional” Ratajkowski assured her that “we could go on.”

“We kept on and Emily was phenomenal,” Martel told the Times. “She’s really the star of the video. hey dude shoes She’s fully mocking him and the male gaze with her beautiful shape and ferocious energy. She’s playful, not seductive. And quite hilarious.”

In her book Ratajkowski says she didn’t dwell on the alleged incident until she realized that Thicke, now a judge on The Masked Singer, had blocked her on Instagram.

“With that one gesture, Robin Thicke had reminded everyone on set that we women weren’t actually in charge,” she says of her experience. “I didn’t have any real power as the naked girl dancing around in his music video. I was nothing more than the hired mannequin.”

Thicke has not yet publicly responded to Ratajkowski’s allegations. Yahoo has reached out to his representatives for comment and will update with their response.

Professor sues UCLA for suspension after allegedly not grading black students more leniently

Professor sues UCLA for suspension after allegedly not grading black students more leniently

A professor at the University of California Los Angeles said he filed suit against the school system for suspending him as he faced backlash for not grading black students more leniently in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

“Recently, I was suspended from my job for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers,” Gordon Klein, the professor behind the suit, said in an op-ed.

Eight days after Floyd, a black man,brooks shoes died in Minneapolis following a May 2020 arrest (for which a now-former police officer has been convicted of murder), a white student emailed Klein asking for a “no harm” final for black students given the racially charged “unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” according to Klein.

“[It’s] not a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-black students, but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major,” the email allegedly stated.

The response to the student’s “patronizing” email asked why black students should be singled out, Klein said.

“Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black half-Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis?” he wrote back. “I assume that they are probably especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might possibly be even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not.”

His response was deemed “racist” by several students, who then formed a petition of over 20,000 signatures demanding his termination.

“I was attacked for being a white man and ‘woefully racist.'” Klein said. “On June 5, three days after I was first emailed, I was suspended amid a growing online campaign directed at me.”

Around this time, he received death threats and disparaging remarks about his Jewish heritage, the professor said.

“You are a typical bigoted, prejudiced and racist dirty, filthy, crooked, arrogant Jew … Too bad Hitler and the Nazis are not around to give you a much needed Zyklon B shower,” one email allegedly read.

UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo suspended Klein without deliberation and banned him from campus, the professor claimed.

“He apparently reasoned that a well-timed publicity stunt might distract attention away from the school’s reputation as an inhospitable place for persons clarks shoes uk of color — to say nothing of its plummeting rankings in U.S. News and World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek,” he said.

When his story broke, over 76,000 people signed a petition to have him return, Klein said.

“Less than three weeks after this whole thing blew up, I was reinstated,” he said. “But this story is not over.”

The professor said he returned after three weeks but alleges he suffered great financial loss, severe emotional distress, trauma, and physical ailments, according to his op-ed.

“I have just filed a lawsuit against the University of California system,” Klein said. “No employee should ever cower in fear of his employer’s power to silence legitimate points of view, and no society should tolerate government-sponsored autocrats violating constitutional mandates.”

4 reasons Congress should permanently expand $300 monthly child tax credits, according to more than 400 economists

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
  • 410 economists urged Congress to make permanent $300 monthly checks to families with children.
  • They wrote in a letter the child tax credit will significantly reduce childhood poverty in the US.
  • Democrats are clashing over how to include the credit in their $3.5 trillion social spending bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As Senate Democrats clash over steve madden shoes what an expanded child tax credit will look like in their $3.5 trillion social spending bill, over 400 economists laid it out simply: the credit should be made permanent to combat child poverty in the country.

On Wednesday, 410 economists, led by Berkeley economics professor Hilary Hoynes and Director of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research Diane Schanzenbach, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to make the expanded child tax credit permanent.

The signatories, which included former top Obama administration economists Jason Furman and Betsey Stevenson, wrote that childhood poverty is a “staggering problem” in the US, affecting approximately one in seven children and indefinitely impacting their livelihoods as they grow up.

“Children growing up in poverty begin life at a disadvantage: on average they attain less education, face greater health challenges, and are more likely to have difficulty obtaining steady, well-paying employment in adulthood,” the economists wrote. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that because of those difficulties, ecco shoes child poverty has cost the country between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion each year.

The economists outlined four reasons why expanding, and making permanent, the child tax credit would be beneficial:

  1. It would dramatically reduce poverty and improve children’s lives by improving childrens’ health and educational attainment;
  2. It would be a long-term investment and bring in more tax revenue down the road by reducing government medical spending for children;
  3. It would have minimal impact on employment given that the credit would phase out for high levels of earning;
  4. And the vast majority of people use the credits to pay for necessities, like food and utilities.

President Joe Biden expanded the child tax credit through December in his stimulus law, in which individuals who earn $75,000 or less are eligible for up to either a $250 or $300 direct payment per child depending on their age.

Insider’s Madison Hoff reported last month that just the first round of payments managed to keep 3 million children out of poverty, signaling the substantial impact a further expanded credit would have for children and families across the country.

But Congressional Democrats are divided on basic provisions of the program, including how long to extend it and whether low-income families who don’t have to file taxes should be able to receive advance monthly payments, known as fully refundability.

House Democrats proposed renewing the nike sneakers program until 2025 in their social spending plan, along with locking in full refundability for families that don’t earn enough to pay taxes.

But the structure of the program could change due to resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key centrist. He’s pushed a work requirement for parents to receive the credit. He told Insider on Tuesday that the benefit should only go to people paying taxes.

Many Democrats are balking at the idea, including architects of the measure like Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

“I think it’s already clear in the country the incredible benefits the child tax credit is delivering to families and I hope to find a way to preserve it in its current form,” Bennet told Insider on Tuesday.

Biden: Another attack likely, pledges more strikes on IS

More than half of Florida’s students now go to schools with mask mandates, defying DeSantis

HIALEAH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 05: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Assault Brigade 2506 Honorary Museum on August 05, 2021 in Hialeah, Florida. The governor and other politicians addressed the media on their desire to see America push for democracy and freedom in Cuba and throughout Latin America.

More than half of Florida’s students are now enrolled in public school districts with mask mandates despite threats of sanctions from the administration of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who decreed that only parents can decide whether balenciaga shoes their children wear masks.

On Tuesday night, two school districts – in Orange and Indian River counties – approved mandates to try to stop the spread of the delta variant of the novel coronavirus. They joined eight other districts that recently moved to require a medical exemption from a doctor to opt out.

The state is a hotspot for covid-19 cases, with a positivity rate for new cases at nearly 20% as hospitals keep filling with patients.

Two of the 10 districts that voted for strict mandates – Indian River and Sarasota – supported Donald Trump for president in 2020. DeSantis is counting on voters in these districts for support in his bid for reelection next year. The others – Miami-Dade County, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Alachua, Palm Beach, Orange and Duval – supported Joe Biden.

According to Florida Department of Education enrollment tallies for 2020-21, combined student enrollment in those 10 counties is about 52% of total enrollment. There were 2,791,687 students enrolled in that year, and the combined enrollment exceeds 1.45 million.

Since DeSantis’s July 30 executive order, districts have watched covid-19 cases rise, including among young people. On Monday, officials in Orange County said children 5 to 14 years old accounted for the majority of new cases, according to Bay News 9.

Orange County Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins told the school board Tuesday night that the district was changing its masking hey dude policy for staff and students by eliminating the parental opt-out and allowing only medical exemptions for at least 60 days.

Also Tuesday night, the school board of the Indian River County school district voted 3-2 for a temporary K-8 mask mandate requiring a medical exemption. “It seems to me, in my view, I’d rather be safe than sorry,” school board Chairman Brian Barefoot said.

He also said the future of the mask mandate will be clearer over the next few weeks when more is learned about the spread of the delta variant and about an expected ruling by a Leon County court judge who is hearing a lawsuit challenging DeSantis’s order. Other lawsuits have been filed against the order as well.

State officials have repeatedly threatened to withhold the pay – or remove – school board members who have voted for mandates. Under the Florida Constitution, the governor can suspend elected officials. DeSantis would have to move against several dozen board members at this point if he opted to do that.

State officials have already started to move against the first two districts that approved tough mask mandates – Alachua and Broward – seeking compensation records for school board members who voted for the mandates. The state’s Board of Education is expected to move against others in the same way this week.

The DeSantis administration says these districts are violating Florida law by imposing these mandates, which violate the governor’s order. Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, said in an email: “Nobody is above the law, not even school board politicians.”

She also said: “There is no empirical evidence hey dude shoes to support the assertion that the benefits of forced masking of schoolchildren outweigh the potential harms. Masking kids under 12 is not recommended in many EU countries, because their health authorities have found that the risks are not well understood – and the data shows that forced masking of young children has a negligible impact on covid prevalence and spread.”

Public health experts dispute this, saying that masking is an essential tool to help stop the spread of delta in schools, along with vaccinations, and that there is no evidence that children are harmed by wearing masks in school.

Nipunie Rajapakse, a doctor and an expert on pediatric infectious diseases at the Mayor Clinic, said: “Because of the concerns that have been raised about whether there are any negative effects of masking on children, there have been now numerous studies done. These studies have unequivocally shown that there are no negative health effects on children from wearing a mask.”

Florida is the only state where more people are dying of COVID now than ever before. What went wrong?

A few months ago, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, declared his hands-off approach to COVID-19 “a tremendous success.” Politico announced that he had “won the pandemic.”

But then came the hypercontagious Delta variant, which continues to hit Florida harder than anywhere else in the country.

The result? DeSantis just added another, less flattering distinction to his résumé. When COVID first surged across the Sun Belt last summer, the average number of Floridians dying of the disease every 24 hours peaked at 185, according to the New York Times’s state-by-state COVID database. The same was true over the winter.

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Aug. 21 announcing the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site for COVID-19 patients in Lakeland, Fla. 

A few days ago, however, Florida’s daily death rate cleared 200 for the first time, and today it stands at 228 — an all-time high.

This makes DeSantis nike store the first (and so far only) governor in the U.S. whose state is now recording more COVID-19 deaths each day — long after free, safe and effective vaccines became widely available to all Americans age 12 or older — than during any previous wave of the virus.

Since last spring, Florida and California — two of America’s biggest and most influential states — have been locked in a pitched battle over which kind of pandemic response makes the most sense: less or more. At times, the Sunshine State seemed to have the upper hand — like when Florida avoided the worst of a nationwide winter surge that hit California particularly hard, all while refusing to require masks in public and keeping bars and restaurants fully open.

But Delta may have changed that.

“Vaccines are working to prevent deaths in many other countries that have seen post vaccine spike in cases, and most other states in the U.S. as well. Florida is different,” Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, recently explained on Twitter. “What’s different in Florida is that, relative to the vaccination rate (~50%), the relaxation of distancing and masking was disproportionately high. Leaders expressed disdain for masks and mask mandates. The total number of people unvaccinated is high. And hospitals got overwhelmed.”

To be sure, comparing COVID numbers from two different states is always a fraught proposition; there are many factors — the introduction of a new, more devious variant such as Delta; the weather; plain old bad luck — that people and policymakers have little control over. And any declaration of victory (or failure) during such an unpredictable pandemic is likely to be premature. In theory, California could suffer more this winter.

But by looking at how California and Florida are doing this summer, post-vaccination, versus how they did last summer, pre-vaccination — an approach that minimizes seasonal variables such as weather and indoor gathering — you can get a rough sense of what is or isn’t working.

The difference is stark.

Last summer, COVID surged in both Florida and California, just as it did across much of the rest of the Southern and Southwestern United States. California fared better. There, new daily cases peaked at 25 per every 100,000 residents; total hospitalizations peaked at 23 per every 100,000 residents; and new daily nike sneakers deaths peaked at 0.35 per every 100,000 residents.

In Florida, those numbers were more than twice as bad: 55 cases/100,000 residents, 56 hospitalizations/100,000 residents and 0.86 deaths/100,000 residents.

So something about Florida — tourism? humidity? fewer restrictions, even last year? — likely makes it more susceptible to summer spread.

Passengers prepare to board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26, 2021. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers prepare to board a cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 26. 

The problem, though, is that while California is doing much better this summer than last, Florida, for some reason, is doing much worse.

In California, the current new daily rate case is somewhat higher (35 cases/100,000) than it was during its summer 2020 peak — in part because California is now conducting twice as many tests per day (about 250,000). Yet despite that, and despite the fact that Delta is twice as transmissible as the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2 that was circulating in 2020, current hospitalizations in California (21/100,000) are still lower than last summer’s peak — and deaths, the metric that matters most, remain twice as low (0.17/100,000).

That’s the kind of progress you’d expect after vaccination.

Florida is the opposite. There, new daily cases appear to have topped out at 138 per every 100,000 residents — more than two and a half times last summer’s peak. As a result, the state’s current hospitalization rate (80/100,000) is nearly one ecco shoes and a half times last summer’s peak; new daily deaths (1/100,000) are higher than ever. And they’re both still climbing.

In other words, Florida did roughly twice as badly as California last summer in terms of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. This summer, however, Florida is doing roughly four times worse in terms of cases and hospitalizations — and nearly six times worse in terms of deaths.

Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on August 16, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)
Medics transfer a patient at Coral Gables Hospital in Coral Gables, Fla., on Aug. 16.

Why has Florida moved in the wrong direction while California has gone the other way? Again, simple misfortune probably plays a part (as do other hard-to-quantify forces). But not every factor is beyond human control. Take vaccination. There are just five counties in California (of 58) where fewer than 35 percent of residents are fully inoculated. In Florida, that number is 23 (of 67). It’s easier for Delta to get a foothold and spread in places where the vast majority of people are unprotected.

Still, vaccination doesn’t explain everything: Statewide, Florida’s full vaccination rate (52 percent) is the same as the national number and just 3 percentage points lower than California’s (55 percent). And Florida has fully vaccinated more of its seniors (82 percent) than California (79 percent).

So as Rajkumar explained, precautions are probably playing a big part as well — and here too the difference between California and Florida couldn’t be more pronounced.

When Delta took off, Los Angeles became the first county in the country to reinstate its public indoor mask mandate. The San Francisco Bay Area followed suit soon after, and nearly every large county in California that doesn’t require masks indoors at least strongly recommends them. No lockdowns, no business closures, no official curbs on indoor drinking or dining — just indoor mask requirements and recommendations.

In contrast, DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask mandates, prohibiting local governments and even local school districts from implementing such policies. “Did we see areas like Los Angeles, with heavy masking, having reduced cases to a trickle?” DeSantis once asked, mockingly. Such wisecracks were all part of the governor’s larger message: Now that vaccines are widely available, he argued, requiring additional precautions is not just unscientific and unnecessary — it’s an infringement on your personal freedom.

Parents drop their kids off at Hillcrest Elementary school in Orlando with a sign at the entrance advising for the requirement of face masks for students unless the parents opt out of the mandate by writing a note to school officials. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Hillcrest Elementary school in Orlando, where masks are required for students unless the parents opt out by writing a note to school officials. 

At this point in the pandemic, it’s impossible to determine whether mask mandates actually trigger more caution or simply reflect existing attitudes in a particular community. “Because the pandemic has become so politicized, people have already sorted themselves into their different camps,” Vox’s Dylan Scott wrote in June. “By now, you are already either a mask-wearer or you’re not. A government mandate probably isn’t going to affect someone’s behavior in June 2021 as much as it would have a year ago, especially after enforcement has been nonexistent.”

But either way, the behavior associated with mask mandates — that is, universal indoor masking — has been proved to work. In fact, according to a research summary by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “at least ten studies have confirmed the steve madden shoes benefit of universal masking in community level analyses: in a unified hospital system, a German city, two U.S. states, a panel of 15 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as both Canada and the U.S. nationally.”

“Each analysis demonstrated that, following directives from organizational and political leadership for universal masking, new infections fell significantly,” the summary continues, adding that “two of these studies and an additional analysis of data from 200 countries that included the U.S. also demonstrated reductions in mortality.”

Meanwhile, another 10-site study showed “reductions in hospitalization growth rates following mask mandate implementation,” and a separate series of cross-sectional surveys in the U.S. “suggested that a 10 percent increase in self-reported mask wearing tripled the likelihood of stopping community transmission.”

Critical care workers
Critical care workers insert an endotracheal tube into a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Sarasota, Fla. 

This isn’t to say that if DeSantis had pulled a 180 and issued a statewide mask mandate, Florida would have dodged Delta (though it might not have hurt). Mostly, the damage is done. Behavior — and thus vulnerability to new variants like Delta, which can transmit via vaccinated people — is already baked in.

In mid-July, for instance, both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans reported regularly wearing masks at exactly the same rate (43 percent), according to the Yahoo News/YouGov poll. But since then, mask wearing by the vaccinated has increased by 22 points (to 65 percent) while mask wearing by the unvaccinated has actually fallen (to 39 percent).

In short, the people who need the most protection from catching and spreading the virus are, paradoxically, masking up even less often now than they were before Delta took off. Instead, it’s the least vulnerable Americans — those who are vaccinated — who have been responsible for all of the recent uptick in regular masking.

A recent survey by the University of Southern California also found that unvaccinated Americans are more likely than their vaccinated peers to go to a bar or a friend’s house and less likely to avoid large gatherings.

“Lack of mask measures, lack of worry about it, lack of vaccination are all kind of the syndrome,” Kevin Malotte, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at California State University, Long Beach, recently told the New York Times. “And I think that’s what we’re seeing correlate with the high rates.”

Marc Ocampo, right, and Camila Lapeyre
Camila Lapeyre, 12, gets a COVID vaccination shot at a Long Beach, Calif., clinic.

And yet this divide wasn’t preordained. Fate did not decree that Floridians would be more inclined than Californians to view wearing masks indoors for a few more weeks — or gathering outdoors more often, or waiting a little longer to drink at the bar — as violations of their personal liberty. Leaders have some power to encourage or discourage such attitudes, and some responsibility for the behaviors they help to normalize (or not).

The good news is that cases finally appear to be peaking in Florida; the state’s seven-day average has fallen by nearly 30 percent over the last week (though testing is down too).

But new cases may be leveling off in California as well, and at a much lower level. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have registered promising declines over the last 14 days.

In the meantime, 228 people are dying of COVID in Florida each day — more than three times the number dying each day in California, a state that’s almost twice as populous.