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Jacksonville surgeon says masks don’t protect against COVID-19. U.S. Surgeon General disagrees

Trust Index explores claim that masks are harmful for your health

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax Trust Index team is looking into recent claims on social media that wearing a face mask for a long period of time can be harmful to your health.

Opponents of wearing masks claim they deprive the body of oxygen. Others say breathing in too much of one’s exhaled carbon dioxide can also be dangerous.

In a fit of admitted frustration, Jacksonville resident Darlene Mayo took to Facebook live last week after being asked to leave a local store because she wasn’t wearing a mask.

Mayo — a former neurosurgeon whose Florida medical license expired in 2019, records show — isn’t practicing medicine right now but said she’s board-certified until 2023.

She said wearing a mask does nothing to protect people from COVID-19 and stood by her statement on Monday in a brief phone interview with News4Jax.

“I am going to take a stand on this. I am a medical doctor. It puts my health at risk to put on a mask,” Mayo said in the video that was viewed more the 250,000 times before it was deleted. “Masks do not protect from viruses, ok, if you need some medical proof I will be happy to provide that for you...this is illegal, this is the United States of America and nobody can force me or anybody else, to do that.”

Mayo’s statements are the exact opposite of the recommendation from the U.S. Surgeon General.

″The most important thing I want to say to people if you are going out in public — wear a face covering,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

States like California are airing Public service announcements urging people to wear masks and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted this morning: “Wear the damn mask.”

The question of is a mask dangerous was asked of UF Health CEO Leon Haley, who said there are no medical facts supporting claims that masks are dangerous to wear for healthy people.

“To my knowledge, there is no information out there that a normal healthy person wearing a mask that there is any risk whatsoever,” Dr. Haley said. “Now, there may be a small group of people with sleep apnea, or really bad asthma or COPD where it may not be ideal, but it’s a small group of people. My greater analogy is if you went in for an eight-hour surgery, your surgeon and their physicians will have a mask on the entire time, and they will be fine during the course of surgery.”

Dr. Haley addressed the Jacksonville City Council last week and went onto say that there is no medical record of a physician who wore a mask fainting or passing out from a lack of oxygen.

He stressed that wearing the mask is safer than not wearing one.

So, is wearing a mask for a long period of time harmful to your health? The Trust Index Team says the claim is not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

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