Ron DeSantis said Florida will not introduce face mask mandates or bans, even if the state has some of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the United States.
The governor of the third most populous state in the country said on Thursday that it was most recently “spoken by people who advocate compulsory masking for school children and young people at the federal level”.
“We’re not doing that in Florida, okay? We need our children to breathe, ”DeSantis said during a press conference on Thursday.
“Parents can make decisions however they want, and we wouldn’t limit that, but we certainly wouldn’t have mandates for students and parents in the coming school year,” said the Republican governor, adding that the state “never” wants “none have further lockdowns or other mandates.
DeSantis wasn’t the only one fighting off talk of mask mandates. Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, said this week that “no government or school force children to wear masks in school,” and also ruled out the prospect of a state mandate.
“As the Delta variant increases, you will likely see an increase in the number of parents who choose to have their children vaccinated, as well as an increase in teachers who have not yet been vaccinated, who are likely to go out and get vaccinated” said Abbott.
In response to the proliferation of the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19, senior officials in the Biden administration are holding preliminary talks about revising mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans, multiple media outlets reported this week. The latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow fully vaccinated individuals to forego masks in most outdoor and indoor areas.
A growing number of cities, counties, and states have recommended residents wear masks indoors even after they have completed their vaccinations. Los Angeles County has gone further than others, reintroducing its mask mandate last weekend.
The CDC also said earlier this month that fully vaccinated students and staff in school buildings are not required to wear masks as long as other guidelines can be followed, such as: A recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday urging everyone over two years to wear a face mask when going to school regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status has caused some confusion and even led to a response from Anthony Fauci that the CDC did “carefully looked at” the health guidelines for schools.
Florida accounted for about 22 percent of all new Covid-19 cases in the United States last week, according to CDC data. When adjusted for the population, the daily rate of about 38 infections per 100,000 population ranks second only to Arkansas and is more than three times the national average.
The Delta variant made up 36.1 percent of the genomes sequenced in the state in the four weeks ending July 3, but that’s a lower prevalence than in at least 10 other states, according to the latest CDC figures.
Texas accounted for about 9 percent of the new coronavirus cases in the United States last week, the third highest proportion after Florida and California. It averages around 11 infections per 100,000 people per day, which is the national average.