Governor Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) is mandating masks for most people in public places. At least one Minnesota-based organization isn't fond of the idea.
"President Trump said the worst is yet to come on COVID-19," Walz said at a press conference announcing the mask mandate this week. "I don't think the president is probably wrong as far as the country goes, but I think here in Minnesota – with this mask mandate and with the things we have done previously to this – it is very possible for us to not have the darker days behind us, but for us to start moving forward."
Walz went on to say this is the "cheapest [and] the most effective way for us to open Minnesota businesses, to get kids back in school, keep grandparents healthy, and get back that life that we all miss so much."
"We know that the three most critical things in slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and keeping people safe are wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing," Governor Walz said.
Twila Brase is a registered nurse and president of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, which is based in St. Paul. Brase does not believe masks work.
"Governor Walz claims it is science-based, but it's not science-based; and the University of Minnesota's infectious disease division came out and said masking is not based on sound science," says Brase.
"You have to wonder what on earth is going on here when all of the data on hospitalizations and deaths is declining in Minnesota, and suddenly we're going to mask everyone for an indeterminate amount of time as though we were having a worse situation than we have."
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 47,961 cases of COVID-19; 1,552 have reportedly died in Minnesota from COVID-19.
"I think that wearing masks does not protect anybody, and as a matter of fact [it] opens and exposes people to harm – for example, harm of self-contamination and cross-contamination," Brase continues. "How many people are touching their masks, touching other things, going back and touching their masks? How many people aren't washing their masks every day to try and get all the contaminants out of it?
"Masks tend to make people think that they're safe and it gives them a false sense of security, and so they don't do the distancing [or] the hand washing. They look at the mask as though that is the protector – and there is no scientific evidence that it protects anyone and there is evidence that it does not protect them from viruses."
Doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, have changed their stances in recent weeks on masks. Both of them were of the opinion that masks were not necessary and/or gave people a false sense of security. The World Health Organization also went from "skip masks" to "wear masks."
Minnesota's mask mandate is scheduled to begin today (Friday, July 24, 2020) at 11:59 p.m. Exemptions from the mask mandate include children who are five years old and under, and individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering.