Billy Woods, the sheriff of central Florida’s Marion County, banned masks for all deputies and visitors to the sheriff’s office starting Tuesday, according to a new report from the Ocala Star Banner—a strange decision to make in the middle of a pandemic that’s still wildly out of control.
Sheriff Woods has instructed staff not to wear masks while on duty and said that any public visitors to the sheriff’s office, which currently employs about 900 people, should be told that masks are banned. Anyone who doesn’t want to remove their mask will be told to leave, according to a memo written by Woods and obtained by the Ocala Star Banner.
“Effective immediately, any individual walking in to any one of our lobbies (which includes the main office and all district offices) that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it,” Woods wrote.
Masks are a vital public health tool to help slow the spread of coronavirus, according to the CDC, and the sheriff’s mask ban comes as Florida broke a new record for daily deaths from covid-19. The Sunshine State recorded 277 new deaths on Tuesday, with 13 of those deaths in Marion County. The U.S. as a whole reported 1,339 new deaths yesterday.
What does one even say at this point? What a disaster of a country.
Incidentally, I found this Twitter thread quite fascinating.
I wanted to discuss the degree to which population immunity may be contributing to curbing #COVID19 in Florida, Arizona and Texas, where recent surges have resulted in substantial epidemics. 1/16
— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) August 7, 2020
Since cases have been slowly declining in the crazy infected states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona, despite completely inept or nonexistent public health actions, this virologist suggests that what is probably happening is that enough people have now had the virus that it is taking it slightly longer to find someone new to infect. That is not the same as herd immunity, we aren’t close to that, but it is a step along the way to it.
Of course, I am not a virologist and I don’t have the tools to evaluate the claim, but it does make quite a bit of intrinsic sense when presented this way.
In other COVID stories, I found this one exploring why so many people are asymptomatic pretty fascinating as well. Basically, there is increasing speculation moving into evidence that there is some preexisting resistance to this among some people because of previous exposure to the virus’ cousins. And in case, at least to my knowledge., this very high level of asymptomatic infection is very unusual for contagious diseases.