Florida Medical Association urges local mask requirements

Coronavirus Covid-19 concept image with doctor woman using futuristic touch monitor interface with text and icons with surgery operating room on background looking for vaccine with mask on her face
Wearing a mask may save your life and the lives of others.

With the dramatic resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Florida, the state’s largest doctors’ association is urging local governments to issue orders to mandate mask-wearing, as has been done Thursday and Friday in Orange County, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.

The Florida Medical Association President Dr. Ronald Giffler issued a statement Friday shortly after news that the state has suffered another record daily number of new COVID-19 cases. It also came as Gov. Ron DeSantis, during his coronavirus pandemic update in Miami, said he would not issue a state order on masks but would not preempt local orders.

“In response to a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases, the Florida Medical Association, the state’s largest physician organization, encourages local officials to adopt regulations requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public places,” Giffler’s statement read. “Several large municipalities in Florida have already adopted mandatory mask use ordinances. The FMA applauds these local leaders who have put the health and safety of their citizens first and foremost.”

Orange County will require everyone to wear masks anywhere in public starting Saturday morning. Tampa is requiring everyone in that city to wear masks in public. St. Petersburg has ordered all employees in the city to wear masks on the job. On Friday Democratic Rep. Tina Polsky urged Palm Beach County to follow suit.

Giffler’s statement comes as political opposition rises about masks, which many on the right have cast as a symbol of anti-freedom as President Donald Trump refuses to wear one in public. On Thursday, on social media, Orange County Republican Chair Charles Hart blasted Orange County’s mask-mandate order as “#LiberalPrivilege again to rob Orange County of our dignity and freedom!”

Giffler offered another view, from the medical profession.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided guidance that masks are essential in preventing community spread of COVID-19 and the FMA unequivocally endorses this public health measure. Wearing a mask may save your life and the lives of others,” Giffler said in the FMA news release.

“The science is clear. Asymptomatic infected individuals can release infectious aerosol particles while breathing and speaking. Not wearing a mask or face covering increases exposure, whereas universal masking greatly reduces the spread of viral particles,” Giffler continued. “The message is simple: For the sake of your health and the health of everyone around you, Florida’s doctors want you to wear a mask.”

The FMA represents doctors of medicine and osteopathy and has more than 25,000 members.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Sonja Fitch

    June 19, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Omg is there a chance that Florida will be number 1 in covid cases for the United States of America? Omg. This is goptrump cult doings. Omg. What if before theRNC there are over 300000 cases? Omg! Be scared Be very scared!!!! The goptrump cult is about the MONEY ! Omg

  • Ray Blacklidge

    June 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Wearing a face mask is not an iron clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can still penetrate masks. Unlike larger Bacteria which masks are effective in stopping, viruses, like COVID-19 are much smaller and make most mask’s useless and just a feel good action.

    To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
    Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
    Maintain at least six feet distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
    Avoid touching your face.
    Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
    Stay home if you feel unwell.
    Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
    Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people. WHO

    The Mayo clinic claims that masks, combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the virus. It’s doesn’t prevent it.

    Face masks can play a role in preventing the infection, but that role is limited. A healthy individual in a normal situation does not need to wear a mask, as per CDC recommendations.

    The CDC recommends cloth face coverings be worn in public areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

    But the CDC does note, “A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.” By wearing a cloth covering in public, the spread of the virus can be slowed by lessening the transmission to others.

    Wearing a face mask is certainly not an iron-clad guarantee that you won’t get sick – viruses can also transmit through the eyes and tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is a main transmission route of coronavirus, and some studies have estimated a roughly fivefold protection versus no barrier alone (although others have found lower levels of effectiveness).

    If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, or have been diagnosed, wearing a mask can also protect others. So masks are crucial for health and social care workers looking after patients and are also recommended for family members who need to care for someone who is ill – ideally both the patient and carer should have a mask.

    However, masks will probably make little difference if you’re just walking around town or taking a bus so there is no need to bulk-buy a huge supply.

  • BlueHeron

    June 20, 2020 at 2:40 am

    I wear a mask to protect you and anyone I come in contact with including my family, friends, neighbors and random people I see when I am out and about. My mask does not protect me which is why I need for you, and everyone else walking around to mask it. I’m not losing my dignity, it’s not that uncomfortable, my freedom and liberty is intact. It does not affect your manhood or womanhood. Sure, it will mess up your makeup but, seriously?!
    Sanitizer/hand washing and distancing combined with a MASK is the only defense we have.
    Nothing is perfect but this is something that does work at a higher % than no mask.
    Life as we knew it is over for now. But, we can still get out for enjoyment, family, friends and hopefully employment.

    We, as a community, need to take care of each other. We simply must. If doing these three things are too much of a sacrifice,then we can expect nothing less than more serious spread, illness and death.

    It is quite clear that the citizens of this state (and country) are on their own. We cannot be selfish with a “you’re not the boss of me” attitude.

    No need to buy those flimsy throw away masks at high prices. Double layer cloth works great and can be rewashed. YouTube has a lot of tutorials or go to Etsy.com Lots of folks selling handmade/reusable masks.

Comments are closed.


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