Florida physicians argue against herd immunity for face masks

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – A group of political activists, state lawmakers and medical experts are once again doubling down on their demand for a statewide mask mandate.

The calls come after White House Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas said stopping the spread of COVID-19 to low risk individuals is not the goal of the government’s pandemic response.

“The goal of policy is absolutely not to stop all spread of COVID-19 to asymptomatic or very low-risk individuals,” Atlas said during the Governor’s Monday roundtable.

The comment has been interpreted by some, including State Senator Gary Farmer, to suggest a herd immunity strategy.

In a virtual press conference Wednesday, Farmer suggested herd immunity wouldn’t work because there is evidence people can be infected more than once.

“This is not like many other viruses, where if you get it once you develop that immunity,” said Farmer.

Dr. Howard Kessler, President of the Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility also warned an estimated seven out of ten Americans would have to be infected before heard immunity would be reached.

“That would mean that over three million people in the United State would be projected to possibly die of COVID-19,” said Kessler.

The Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility argue the best way to slow the spread continues to be face mask mandates.

And alongside the physicians, President of the National Organization for Women of Florida Barbara DeVane is again calling on the Governor to make masks mandatory statewide.

“And we don’t understand why you [Governor DeSantis] won’t listen to the scientific and medical research,” said DeVane.

Governor DeSantis has consistently rejected the idea of a universal mask mandate.

With Florida’s daily cases seemingly on the decline, with a notable exception on the Aug. 31, it is unlikely he’ll change strategy any time soon.

The 7,576 cases reported on Aug. 31 caused DeSantis to drop Quest Diagnostics as the state’s primary testing contractor.

3,870 of the positive cases were more than two weeks old, with some dating back as far as April.

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