Some Americans refuse to mask up. Rules, fines and free masks will change that, experts say.

Many Americans have embraced health officials’ recommendation to wear masks in public, but those who refuse to mask up are likely to encounter increasing pressure in the coming weeks and months.

There is a “sizable minority” of Americans who are skeptical, Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told USA TODAY — evidenced in part by numerous viral videos showing shoppers flouting mask rules.

Critics often say mask mandates infringe on their personal freedom. Some right-leaning Americans have called masks a tool of oppression, Democratic conspiracy, and even sacrilege.

But growing evidence shows face coverings are an effective way of slowing the spread of COVID-19, leading more state leaders to enact mask mandates. On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, went so far as to say face coverings were “the only way” to avoid another shutdown of the state’s economy.

Local officials voting to require face

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Tech giants face new fines and break-ups under UK recommendations

Apps - Yui Mok/PA
Apps – Yui Mok/PA

Britain’s monopolies watchdog has called for new powers to stop Google and Facebook abusing their dominant position in online advertising, including being able to levy fresh fines on the tech firms and split out their operations. 

In recommendations for the Government, the UK’s competition watchdog said “existing laws are not suitable for effective regulation”, and urged a new “pro competition regulatory regime” be established.

It said a new regulatory body, termed a “digital markets unit”, should be able to enforce a code of conduct to stop Google and Facebook from being able to engage in “exploitative or exclusionary practices”. The group should be able to impose significant fines if companies fail to alter their behaviour. 

The Competition and Markets Authority recommended that the unit should be able to order Google to open up its data to allow rival search engines to compete against it, as well

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