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[T]here is a bit less to Ricketts’ claims of Covid success without mandates than meets the eye. Close to half of Nebraska’s population lives in the cities of Lincoln and Omaha, both of which enacted local mask mandates at various points in the pandemic along with several smaller cities, over Ricketts’ objections. (He once threatened to withhold federal funding from cities and counties that enacted such mandates, though he later told a congressional committee he never actually did so.) “The state has been able to turn to the success of some of the county and local city measures and count that toward their success,” said Leirion Gaylor Baird, Lincoln’s Democratic mayor.
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