Iowa focuses on masks as coronavirus deaths rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – More than 18 months after Iowa’s first coronavirus case, the state finds itself in a protracted argument over the value of wearing masks, especially in schools.

Even as the COVID-19 death toll in Iowa tops 6,400 people, discussions have shifted away from vaccination efforts and more toward masks following a federal judge’s ruling temporarily blocking a state law banning mask mandates in schools.

In the courts, the state has been seeking to have the mask mandate ban restored. In school districts, officials have been holding often-heated meetings about whether to require masks.

Efforts to question the value of masks in Iowa and elsewhere have left some health officials frustrated.