Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds finally adopted a semblance of a mask tenure this week, but by addressing her about-face she managed to confuse it – saying there was science to back it up “Both sides” of the question.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, amid a record increase in coronavirus cases in her state, Reynolds explained the details of the order she issued a day earlier requiring Iowans to wear a face mask in limited circumstances.
Even with its shortcomings, the order has changed its mind from the Republican’s previous claims that masked mandates are only a measure of “well-being.” “I remind and ask all the people of Iowa to come together and help us fight together against the spread of this virus,” she said.
At the same time, however, Reynolds pointed to states that she said had implemented mask warrants but still saw an increase in the number of cases. When a reporter pointed out that this was a topic of discussion for opponents of the mask, Reynolds replied, “There is science on both sides, and you know it. If you watch you can find anything you want to support whatever you do. And so what I’m saying is do whatever we can.
“There is science on both sides.“
– Governor Kim Reynolds
Later, when asked by another reporter about that comment, Reynolds doubled down.
“I think if you talk to different people, there are different studies on the two,” she said, referring to the effectiveness of mask warrants. “We will continue to review all mitigation efforts and we will move forward with what I think will impact the update of the numbers. But I think there is data on both. “
Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology and global health at the University of Michigan, challenged Reynold’s “two sides” defense.
“There is always science on both sides, it’s the scientific method,” he says. “It’s the preponderance of evidence [that matters]. “
And when it comes to wearing masks, he added, “the irrefutable proof is that it works.” Although questions remain about how best to convince people to wear a mask, Monto said, “I am of the opinion that a warrant in an emergency situation is a useful and effective way to go.”
A study of 15 states and Washington, DC published in Health affairs This summer, the mask warrants were associated with a reduction in the daily growth rate of COVID-19 and could have prevented up to 450,000 cases. And, despite Reynolds’ comments at the press conference, Vox noted that eight of the top 10 states with the highest number of new cases per capita in October did not have a blanket mask warrant.
New daily cases and hospitalizations have doubled in Iowa in the past two weeks, reflecting peaks in states across the country. At the start of the month, 14% of hospital patients had COVID-19, Reynolds said. Tuesday was up to 28%.
The governor has previously been criticized for refusing to implement a mask warrant, including by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which said in a recent report that the state needed “a immediate action, including mask requirements to reduce the severity of morbidity and mortality in the Iowans ”.
Reynolds’ Nov. 16 order included restrictions on social gatherings, indoors and outdoors, and required restaurants and bars to close at 10 p.m. His mask mandate, however, was less clear. This exempted the residents of Iowa from covering their faces at spiritual gatherings, during physical exercise, or when performing for an audience. This also does not apply in situations where people may be socially distanced and interact for less than 15 minutes.
If people are baffled by the guidelines – which in fact caused considerable confusion at Tuesday’s press conference – Reynolds “said they should” just put on the mask “She did not, however, explain why it did not follow the lead of the governors in some countries, other states and issue a mandate that would require everyone to do just that.
Overall, the United States averages 150,000 new cases a day and reached its 11 millionth confirmed case on Sunday. In response, a number of states have instituted more restrictions in recent days, some governors like Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma have refrained from requiring masks, and others like Doug Burgum of North Dakota have finally answered the call of public health officials and put one in place. .
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has imposed a 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew for the next 21 days. The Chicago stay-at-home order went into effect Monday, and Philadelphia will ban gatherings and indoor dining starting Friday. New Mexico is currently on a two-week lockdown, and about 94% of California’s population is subject to the state’s most restrictive level of lockdown, which shuts down most non-essential domestic businesses. Delaware on Tuesday limited private gatherings to 10 people or fewer and banned youth sports leagues from participating in tournaments with teams outside of the state.
“We are sounding the alarm,” California Governor Newsom said in a press release on Monday. “Now is the time to do whatever we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again like we have done before.
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