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Mask mandate needed in Iowa

We’re in the midst of a pandemic with Iowans testing at a 48 percent positivity rate, Marshall County testing at a 20 percent rate and hospitalization numbers setting records. The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued a report to Iowa in October noting “many preventable deaths in the state and recommending that masks be worn in all public settings while advising Iowans to avoid public crowds and private gatherings.”

Recently, Gov. Reynolds spent her time campaigning for Joni Ernst and President Trump. She encouraged Iowans to attend a Trump rally that drew thousands in Des Moines without masks, including the governor, defying the Task Force recommendations. Throughout the pandemic Gov. Reynolds has resisted a statewide mask mandate and dismissed local mandates as unenforceable. Mandates are unenforceable because she won’t enforce them. Instead, she “recommends” social distancing and hygiene. That’s her solution?

A recent study in Kansas in which 20 counties had a mask mandate with enforcement and 20 counties without a mask mandate. The positivity rate was double in those counties without a mask mandate. The data suggest masks work.

Reynolds has constantly been opposed to requiring a mask mandate because she’s convinced “Iowans will do the right thing.” With the nation’s second highest positivity rate, it seems obvious that Iowans “aren’t doing the right thing.”

Gov. Reynolds established rules prohibiting families from visiting loved ones in nursing homes in order to protect both the visitor and the resident. The state of Iowa has a seat belt mandate in vehicles, in order to protect the person in that vehicle. The state of Iowa has a prohibition against texting and making phone calls while driving in order to protect the person driving and persons not in the vehicle. A mask mandate with enforcement would protect both the person wearing a mask and those with whom they come in contact. Laws designed to protect citizens are enforceable if you have the will.

The numbers of deaths caused by the coronavirus in Iowa this year will far exceed vehicle deaths related to not wearing seat belts and texting, yet Reynolds chooses not to mandate wearing of masks or allowing communities to enforce a mask mandate. Why? Is she imposing her belief of “Herd Immunity” on the citizens of Iowa?

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