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Florida doctors urge Gov. DeSantis to require face masks as coronavirus cases rise

Coronavirus

A cyclist donning a face mask pedals across a quiet Orange Avenue at Church Street in downtown Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, April 15, 2020, as Central Floridians continue to respond to the coronavirus crisis. Governor Ron DeSantis’ issued a statewide Stay-At-Home Executive Order for all Florida residents that went into effect April 3, 2020, currently set to expire on April 30. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA/Cap News) — A group of physicians is calling on Florida’s governor to mandate the use of face masks in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The state reported a record 2,783 new cases on Tuesday. It marks the eighth straight day of 1,000 or more new cases.

Physicians in the state’s capital believe after three solid months of pandemic panic, Floridians are beginning to drop their guard and their masks.

“You may not like wearing a mask, but it beats wearing a ventilator,” Dr. Ron Saff, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said.

More than 10,000 cases have been reported in the last week alone.

“If we do not do better in responding to this spread, another 100,000 people or more may die of the same disease,” PSR-FL President Dr. Howard Kessler said.

The group has asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to make face masks mandatory in public places by issuing an executive order.

“He has a moral and leadership obligation to reduce sickness and deaths among Floridians and to set an example for the nation,” said Dr. Donald Axelrad, who is on the board of PSR-FL.

The physicians said by simply wearing a face mask, you’re six times less likely to spread or contract the virus.

“People should have the courtesy and respect for others to wear a mask. Unfortunately, voluntary requests to wear a mask seem to be falling on deaf ears,” said Dr. Saff.

With the governor having largely taken a libertarian approach to the pandemic response, putting the onus on the individual to either heed or ignore guidance, it’s unlikely he will take any enforceable action on face masks.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have mandatory face mask requirements in public spaces.

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