The debate over masks and the coronavirus is entering a new phase. multiple states have recently dropped their mask mandates, against the advice of the CDC.
David Begnaud reports from New Orleans after recently visiting Lafayette, where this policy issue is also playing out between neighbors.
But even before the vote, the city’s mayor indicated he would not enforce a mandate.
The council then voted and the ordinance failed, right down party lines.
Two democrats voted yes. The three republicans all said the mask mandate was pointless in part because it wouldn’t be enforced.
And one of them even raised doubts about the effectiveness of masks in an email exchange with none other than the Guarisco family who called the rejection of the mandate “a complete farce”
“It’s all pathetic and laughable. I just don’t feel safe.” You don’t feel safe in your own town?
Here in the state of Louisiana there have been more than 3,700 mask complaints filed statewide people calling in saying so and so is not wearing a mask I want to report it. Do you know how much action has been taken? 0. none.
We’re told the State Fire Marshall would rather educate than punish. As for masks, lets be clear every infectious expect says mask work.
We’re not exhibiting the behavior that medical experts are begging us to do. This particular community has prided itself on being so loving. But in these dire times. I’m not seeing it at all. It really breaks my heart, David.
That’s Peter Guarisco. His 73 year old father David died last month due to COVID-19 complications. Gayle George is David’s widow.
“I think perhaps he got it from me because I was diagnosed three days before he was.”
David’s death made local news after what happened at the funeral home. The headline read, “family says they were mocked, police called after requesting mask usage at funeral home.”
“You think I’m gonna let my family risk their lives because you’re a little lax on your policy?”
“There were people up and down the hallway without a mask on. And we just simply said listen just please wear a mask. And no one would.”
Guarsico says the funeral home did have signs telling people that masks were required, but they didn’t enforce it.
“I found out there was not local enforcement of the state mask mandate.”
What happened at the funeral home led to community outrage, and to a public memorial honoring Guarisco and the more than 200 people who have died due to COVID in Lafayette. And last week it also led to an emergency meeting of the city council to consider a local mask mandate.
“Masks have become political here.”
Local Doctor Britni Hebert, a Yale educated phyisican who spent more than 3 weeks volunteering on the front lines in New York City, told her city council:
“A local mask ordinance will save lives and if you are strong enough to vote for it you will save lives.”
Diseases experts will tell you masks work some work better than others but masks work to prevent the spread of the virus.