TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s coronavirus dashboard recorded a record 2,776 new cases in a 24-hour span on Tuesday.
It marks the 14th day in a row of over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.
Now, a group of physicians is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to mandate the use of face masks in order to stop the spread.
Call it COVID-Burnout; physicians in the state’s capital believe after three solid months of pandemic panic Floridians are beginning to drop their guard and their masks.
“You may not like wearing a mask, but it beats wearing a ventilator,” said Dr. Ron Saff, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
More than 10,000 cases have been reported in the last week alone.
“If we do not do better in responding to this spread another 100,000 people or more may die of the same disease,” said Dr. Howard Kessler President of PSR-FL.
They’ve asked the Governor to make face masks mandatory in public places by issuing an executive order.
“He has a moral and leadership obligation to reduce sickness and deaths among Floridians and to set and example for the nation,” said Dr. Donald Axelrad, who is on the board of PSR-FL.
The physicians said by simply wearing a face mask you’re six times less likely to spread or contract the virus.
“People should have the courtesy and respect for others to wear a mask. Unfortunately, voluntary requests to wear a mask seem to be falling on deaf ears,” said Dr. Saff.
DeSantis has largely taken a libertarian approach to the pandemic response, putting the onus on the individual to either heed or ignore the guidance.
DeSantis balked at the idea of mandating masks when asked during a press conference Tuesday and pointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
“I just don’t think that that’s a reasonable thing, certainly under penalty of law, to do,” DeSantis said. “I would definitely encourage people when you’re in, whether it’s a business situation, like in a restaurant. In terms of forcing that under penalty of criminal law, you know, we’re not going to be doing that. I think it would be applied unevenly and I just don’t think it would end up working at the end of the day. We should be trusting people to make good decisions.”
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have mandatory face mask requirements in public spaces.