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Wisconsin governor Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency and extended a face-coverings mandate into November to fight a flare-up of coronavirus cases, as the US surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 Covid-19 deaths this morning.

In-person social gatherings led to cases skyrocketing among people aged 18 to 24, Evers said, as he pleaded with students who returned to colleges for the fall semester to stay out of bars and wear masks, Reuters writes.

“We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus,” the governor said in a statement announcing his decision.

Evers’ previous mask mandate, part of a second public health emergency he issued in late July, was due to expire on Monday and has been challenged in court by a conservative group arguing the governor, a Democrat, violated state law in using emergency powers more than once.

Wisconsin has experienced one of the highest percentage increases of coronavirus cases nationwide over the past two weeks, and has the second-highest rate of positive coronavirus tests in the nation at 17%, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States continues to have the world’s highest number of Covid-19 deaths. On a weekly average, it is losing about 800 lives each day to the virus, according to a Reuters tally. That is down from a peak of 2,806 daily deaths recorded on April 15 during the first peak of infections.

Wisconsin governor Tony Evers (L) and lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes at a news conference in Kenosha last month.
Wisconsin governor Tony Evers (L) and lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes at a news conference in Kenosha last month. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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