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Arizona Gov. Ducey will not require masks amid state's COVID-19 spike

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R ) has indicated he will not require that masks be worn in public spaces in the state despite rising coronavirus cases. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 34,458 cases of the coronavirus and 1,883 deaths as of Saturday afternoon. At the start of the month, it had reported just more than 20,000 cases and 900 deaths, according to data collected by The Hill. 

Ducey was pressed about the topic at a Thursday press conference when a reporter asked him, “When was the last time you wore a face mask, governor?”

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“I’ve got my face masks with me today,” Ducey said, taking some out of his pocket. “And when I’m not physically distancing, I wear them and wash them often.”

Ducey said he wants people to “wear masks when they can't socially distance,” though he has not indicated Arizona would enforce that residents do so by law, as dozens of other states have. 

Arizona, Texas and other states with relaxed and short-lived coronavirus-related shutdowns are seeing surges in cases as reopening moves forward. 

Though the president has expressed an eagerness to reopen the country, public health officials on the White House coronavirus task force have advised that people continue wearing face masks when social distancing isn’t possible until a vaccine is widespread.