Iowa imposes new restrictions to fight surge of coronavirus cases

States announce new restrictions amid COVID s...

Iowa's governor on Monday issued new restrictions designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, including a mandate that anyone above age 2 wear a face covering if they are in an indoor space for more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of people who don't belong to their households. The proclamation comes as the state is facing a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said the mandate will take effect November 17 and continue through December 10.

Reynolds is also restricting indoor gatherings to no more than 15 people and 30 people outdoors, which applies to "wedding receptions, family gatherings, conventions and other nonessential gatherings, but do not apply to gatherings that occur during the ordinary course of business or government."

The governor also said that bars and restaurants will close to in-person services at 10 p.m. All youth and adult sports and recreational activities are suspended, but high school, college and professional sports are allowed. Only two spectators are permitted for each high school athlete, per the governor's proclamation, and they must observe proper social distancing measures and wear a mask.

Those visiting casinos and gaming facilities are required to wear face masks except when seated to eat or drink, according to the governor.

The Associated Press said Reynolds announced the details of the proclamation in a televised speech, where she said the public health measures are a necessary step to fight a new surge of COVID-19.

"I continue to strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of the home," Reynolds wrote in the proclamation. "I strongly encourage Iowans to consider avoiding events not adhering to social distancing and mask recommendations."

Iowa state health officials reported on Monday that more than 1,000 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus. The state's daily death toll from COVID-19 has also seen a steady rise since late September, according to Iowa officials.

More than 11 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. — with the most recent million coming in less than a week — as many Americans prepare to observe a Thanksgiving holiday marked by the pandemic. Meanwhile, Moderna on Monday said that its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from the company's ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared more than 90% effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine nearly 95% effe...
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