Florida Watch and Progress Florida are joining the call for Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a face mask requirement in a video posted to Facebook Thursday.
Democrats across the state have urged the Governor to issue an order, but that ask has fallen on deaf ears. The video, made in partnership by the two progressive advocacy groups, also implores Floridians to call the Governor’s Office to ask for an order.
“Gov. DeSantis needs to quit playing politics with this deadly disease and with the health of Floridians,” said Florida Watch Executive Director Josh Weierbach. “We’re calling on the Governor to heed the advice of health experts who universally agree that the widespread use of masks will save thousands of lives.”
The video features a news clip of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explaining why he wears a mask. It adds that health experts say a mask order could save the lives of 8,000 Floridians by October, a statistic likely pulled from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model for COVID-19 in Florida.
“DeSantis is heeding this advice about as well as he wears a mask himself,” the video states over another clip of the Governor putting on an N95 mask sideways.
As of Wednesday morning, 3,889 Floridians and 102 non-residents have died with COVID-19 in the state. And 223,783 people have tested positive, with several thousand tests returning positive each day.
Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has resisted issuing a face mask requirement, citing constitutional liberty and the difficulty in enforcing such a requirement. Instead, he has said local governments can issue requirements if they are willing to enforce the orders.
Most of the state’s population centers have issued local mask orders, including Jacksonville, which will host the Republican National Convention next month.
“As more cities and counties across Florida issue mask requirements to slow the spread of this deadly disease and save our economy, DeSantis has been accused of intentionally manipulating the state’s data and misleading Floridians,” the video says. “Florida needs real leadership in this time of crisis.”