US virus outbreaks stir clash over masks, personal freedom

Rhode Island Republican state Rep. Michael Chippendale, front right, joins with others as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance on the floor of the House Chamber while separated by plastic protective barriers at the start of a legislative session, Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at the Statehouse, in Providence, R.I. Wednesday’s session was the first by the legislature to be held on the floor of the chamber since March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

PHOENIX — When the coronavirus flared in China this week, the country canceled flights, suspended reopenings and described the situation as “extremely grave.” But with cases rising in some U.S. states, local officials have balked at even requiring people to wear masks.