Agriculture commissioner calls for Florida statewide mask order

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she wants Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide mandate requiring people to wear masks in public spaces.

The request comes as Florida sees COVID-19 cases skyrocket, particularly among young people. The state reported more than 5,000 new cases of the virus on Thursday for the second day in a row. More than 114,00 people have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began. At least 3,327 people have died.

RELATED: Florida reports over 5K cases for second day

“With 31,299 new cases in the past week alone, Florida has emerged as a new hotspot for COVID-19. While this pandemic threatens to spiral out of control, our leadership is rushing headlong into further re-opening the state,” Fried said. “We must take basic protective measures immediately – that’s why today, I am calling on the Governor to issue a statewide order requiring masks to be worn in public places. This is common sense, violates no one’s liberties, and follows the lead of 18 other states like North Carolina, Kentucky, and New York. If we’re to beat this virus together, we must all act together, with all Floridians doing their part.”

RELATED: ‘We are where we are’: DeSantis says Florida not moving to next phase

A growing number of US states are requiring the use of masks, including, California, Michigan, New York and Washington.

Fried said studies have shown that widespread mask usage “can dramatically reduce transmission rates if enough people wear them in public.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told a House committee Tuesday that it was now clear that wearing masks helps slow the spread of the virus.

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