About two dozen medical and health professionals held a news conference on the steps of the Iowa Capitol Saturday morning, calling for Governor Kim Reynolds to issue a face mask mandate.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the group held the event to draw attention to the letter they sent to the governor, signed by leaders of 16 Iowa health care organizations and by over 300 medical professionals in total.
Dr. Austin Baeth told the gathering that the state is “on the cusp of catastrophe” and needs to do everything they can to fight the coronavirus pandemic before it gets worse.
The governor has recommended that Iowans use face coverings, but is averse to issuing a mandate because she feels it would be difficult to enforce. She was asked Thursday why she’s going against the advice of experts who say masks work, and replied “But there’s people that would tell you just the opposite.”
Dr. Baeth says “there is science” behind the group’s recommendations. While acknowledging that some people are concerned that such a mandate might infringe on their personal freedoms, the group counters by saying that those who choose to not wear a mask are endangering the personal freedoms of others by imperiling their lives.
As of Sunday morning, over 45,000 Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 874 have succumbed to COVID-19.