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New York — Thirteen months and two presidents into a once-in-a-century public-health crisis, toxic politics still bedevil effective policies against Covid-19 — an indication of the challenges the US will face in any future pandemic.   

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat targeted in a kidnapping plot due to her early lockdown, has lost the will to impose new restrictions even as the virus surges there. In California, Republicans are pushing to recall governor Gavin Newsom for his strict response. And Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who still eschews a mask mandate, is claiming vindication because his state’s death toll was lower than many Democratic bastions — making him an early favourite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024...

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