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Calling Upon Florida and the Nation to Require Face Masks

A former Assistant Secretary of Health calls upon both to consider how a face mask mandate could mitigate transmission and mortality.

In the absence of a coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) cure, and with the incidence rates going up, masks have become a means for prevention explained Howard Koh, MD, MPH. Koh is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Kennedy School. He also served as the Assistant Secretary for Health for the US Department of Health and Human Services within the Obama administration.

“Unfortunately, all the trends are going the wrong way,” Koh stated. “While so many countries around the world have gotten to the other side with the crisis, we haven’t in the US.”

As such, Koh released a statement last week imploring Florida to consider a state-wide mandate. “With Florida rapidly emerging as COVID-19’s new epicenter for the world, it is urgent to employ every possible public health measure to protect the lives of millions there who are at risk,” the statement read. “Governor Ron DeSantis urgently needs to institute a statewide mask requirement—an effective, common sense prevention measure successfully used in other countries, as well as in other key regions of our country. With more states like Texas recently joining the ranks of those with mask requirements, Florida should as well.”

The number of deaths in Florida last week hit 132 on one day and then the next day it was 156. And the incidence rates keep going up.

In his interview with Contagion®, Koh expands upon his insights about the need to wear face masks in public. He even calls for a national face mask requirement. He offered the example of Asia, which has used face masks for years as they have combated other corona-type viruses in the past. He also sited projections about how face masks may have mitigated the mortality rate.