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'We need to stop with this theater:' DeSantis tells students to take masks off at USF

DeSantis tells students to take masks off
Posted at 2:13 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 15:23:57-05

Governor Ron DeSantis was at the University of South Florida Wednesday to talk about cybersecurity, but before that he made some comments to students there about masks.

"You do not have to wear those masks.. please take them off," the governor said. "Honestly it's not doing anything. We need to stop with this theater. If you want to wear it fine, but this is ridiculous. "

Governor DeSantis tells students to take their masks off

USF says masks are optional on campus and their website says each individual's decision should be respected.

In his comments, DeSantis said masks don't do anything, but doctors and health officials say otherwise.

This CDC graphic shows the effectiveness of different types of masks.

The CDC says wearing cloth masks lowers the odds of catching COVID by 56 percent. With surgical masks that number jumps to 66 percent and with N-95s or KN-95s that number is 83% percent.

Overall, the CDC says people who always wear a mask in indoor public settings are less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people who don't.


However, the CDC did drop strong mask recommendations for most of the country a few days ago. The agency released new guidance relying on what they call "community levels of disease.” It says people living in counties at the “low” level do not need to wear a mask indoors. However, people living in counties at the “high” level should still wear masks indoors.

cdc risk map .png
The CDC released a map of risk of COVID-19 transmission in Florida.

Hillsborough County is still considered to have "high community transmission," which means masks are still recommended for the area.

It's not surprising that the governor is not following the CDC's recommendations. Last Thursday, governor DeSantis released his own policy recommendations that discourage mask-wearing titled "Buck the CDC." It advises businesses to stop requiring masks for workers.

Buck the CDC announcement