Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem shot down the idea of implementing a mandate that people wear a second mask, asserting, “That’s not what America’s about; that’s not what South Dakota is about.”
Federal health officials have suggested that people wear a second mask to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.
Noem also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has changed its recommendations, countering, “I choose to rely on science and data and facts. And masks can work in certain situations if you’re wearing the right kind and if you’re doing it appropriately, but I’m not going to mandate it.”
At the briefing, a reporter asked, “You’ve been resistant to implement mask mandates; you’re skeptical of their efficacy —”
Noem fired back, “I never said that, Joe. Don’t put words in my mouth. What I’ve said is the appropriate mask at the appropriate time, utilized correctly and kept sanitary can make a difference, but I also don’t believe it’s my role to mandate that people wear a mask. I’ve left, for the entire year, it up to personal responsibility to make the best decision for them and their families, and I’ll continue to do that.”
The reporter speculated, “So now that the CDC is recommending two masks —”
Noem interjected, “Well, the CDC has changed their recommendations many, many, many times. In fact, we’ve seen the CDC change their recommendations based on political pressure in the past. I choose to rely on science and data and facts. And masks can work in certain situations if you’re wearing the right kind and if you’re doing it appropriately, but I’m not going to mandate it. It’s not an argument over whether masks work or if they don’t work; I’ve never argued that.”
“What I argue is the mandate,” Noem stated. “I think the mandate is inappropriate, for someone to come in and mandate that somebody wear a mask. And I think it’s inappropriate for us to shame people who choose not to wear a mask. That’s not what America’s about; that’s not what South Dakota is about.”
“So no double mask mandate in South Dakota?” the reporter queried.
Noem answered, “Not coming in South Dakota. So I will not be doing that. That’s for sure.”
There won't be a double mask mandate in South Dakota. pic.twitter.com/rXqi9eXt0W
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) February 18, 2021
Noem’s rejection of instituting strict “lockdowns” because of the coronavirus seems to have borne fruit for her state. In a survey conducted by United Van Lines in January that tracked customers’ 2020 state-to-state migration patterns, South Dakota ranked fourth in the nation, virtually tied for second behind the state of Idaho.
“Black Hills area realtors and builders say there’s an influx of people who are relocating permanently or buying land in the region — and the trend isn’t expected to slow anytime soon,” the Rapid City Journal reported. “Newcomers from California, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Texas, Michigan, Colorado and Virginia along with Minnesota, North Dakota and Wyoming are leading the trend of relocating to South Dakota, local realtors say.”
The Washington Post reported on February 10:
Federal health officials Wednesday urged Americans to consider wearing two masks as one of several strategies to better protect themselves against the threat of more contagious variants of the coronavirus. Two methods substantially boost fit and protection, according to a CDC report and updated guidance on its website. One is wearing a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask. The second is improving the fit of a single surgical mask by knotting the ear loops and tucking in the sides close to the face to prevent air from leaking out around the edges and to form a closer fit.
The latest CDC guidelines recommend:
Improve Mask Fit and Filtration by Wearing Two Masks (Wearing a “Double Mask”)
Wearing a second mask on top of a first mask (to create a “double mask”) can:
- Improve fit by pressing the inner mask closer to the face, thereby reducing the amount of air that leaks around the edges of the masks.
- Improve filtration by adding more layers of material to reduce the number of respiratory droplets containing the virus that come through the masks.
One way to do this is to wear a medical procedure mask underneath a cloth mask. A recent study conducted in a laboratory found that this “double mask” combination provided much better protection to the wearer and to others as compared with a cloth mask by itself or a medical procedure mask by itself.
However, there are some mask combinations that should not be used to “double mask.”
Do not combine two medical procedure masks to create a “double mask.” Medical procedure masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing a second medical procedure mask on top of the first medical procedure mask does not help to improve the fit.
Do not combine a KN95 mask with any other masks. You should only use one KN95 mask at a time, and you should not use any type of second mask on top of or underneath a KN95 mask.
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