JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is defending her relaxation of mask wearing and other coronavirus reduction measures, even as public health officials warn against ending the measures when a new more contagious variant of the virus is spreading in the U.S.
Reynolds says lower hospitalizations and other measures prompted her to lift the partial mask mandate and limits on crowd sizes. She says she trusts Iowans to do the right thing.
Iowa reported 1,035 new confirmed cases on Wednesday and 29 additional deaths, increasing the state's death toll to 5,174.
Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist, says opening up now gives the U.K. variant a chance to spread quickly in the U.S.
Watch Reynolds' Wednesday press briefing below or on our Facebook page.