North Texas Daily

We need a federal mask mandate to help red states

We need a federal mask mandate to help red states

We need a federal mask mandate to help red states
March 19
13:00 2021

As vaccines are administered and COVID-19 testing slows, Gov. Greg Abbott has chosen to disregard the safety of his constituents and end the mask mandate. Businesses are now allowed to open up to full capacity, adding fuel to a dangerous fire that continues to spread throughout the world. It’s time for the Biden administration to take action against red states who have chosen to act against the people’s best interests. 

Scientists say masks work and we need to listen to them. A study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin proved how nonmedical masks have been effective in reducing the transmission of respiratory viruses like COVID-19. Social distancing has been an effective weapon against COVID-19 as well. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a study proving that strict social distancing measures significantly reduce the risk of infection.

Republican governors proudly disrespect science and disregard public health under the false pretense of securing individual liberties is scary. No human is free to put another human’s life at risk. By refusing to wear a mask you’re infringing on another human’s right to remain safe from a lethal virus during a pandemic. 

By ending the mask mandates, Republican governors are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and, to put it bluntly, they’re murdering their constituents. You would think politicians would want to keep the citizens alive, but not Republicans, they don’t need real voters when they can just continue suppressing blue votes

In my opinion, the Biden administration has an obligation to ensure state governments don’t murder their citizens with willful ignorance and hubris. Since his first federal mask mandate isn’t making people wear masks everywhere, Biden’s team needs to step up and hold red states who have lifted their mask mandates accountable. The federal government must keep Americans safe, especially when our local governments have turned against us. 

On March 10, Abbott ended the mask mandate and reopened businesses to full capacity. The average death toll for that week is 163, according to The New York Times. 163 deaths should be enough to tell Abbott it’s too soon to reopen Texas and take off our masks. I don’t think he would care about the number of deaths unless the bodies were dropped right in his front yard at the Governor’s Mansion. 

Unfortunately, Texas isn’t the only red state run by buffoons who don’t respect science. The other Republican-led states with blood on their hands are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee. They have no right to put everyone else at risk and they need to be put in their place by the federal government. 

President Joe Biden does not have the power to require all states to require masks, but the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran, does. Cochran has the power to demand regulations to “prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession.”

A federal mask mandate should be demanded by Cochran to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives in red states. It’s clear that Republican-led state governments are not going to do what is necessary to end this pandemic and bring life back to normal. They have had ample time to get their act together and at this point, they are deliberately putting lives at risk for no good reason. 

Red states should be targeted based on the rapid decline in COVID-19 testing and lack of cooperation with the CDC. Another reason to single out red states is that they have the highest COVID-19 death rates, according to a study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and conducted by Brian Neelon, Ph.D. et al. The same study shows the decline in COVID-19 testing in red states. 

In addition to a mask mandate, Republican politicians who have disregarded public health should be criminally prosecuted and removed from office. If you are not capable of performing your job, then you get fired. The same logic must be applied to politicians who fail to properly care for their constituents.

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Shelby Stevens

Shelby Stevens

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