A great many Americans, some quite some time ago, realized the worthless futility of mask-wearing as a mitigation measure against the COVID-19 pandemic and have pushed back against government mandates and social pressure to compel masking compliance by everybody.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is among that group and a video clip went viral on social media Wednesday that featured him telling a group of high school students that they no longer needed to wear face masks, Fox News reported.
Of course, like virtually everything else DeSantis has said or done concerning the pandemic, the clip sparked controversy and outrage among leftists and the mainstream media.
“We gotta stop with this COVID theater”
Gov. DeSantis was in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday at the University of South Florida to announce a new initiative providing funding for cybersecurity and information technology training and job opportunities.
As he approached the podium, behind which stood several masked teenage high school students, DeSantis said, “You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off.”
“Honestly, it’s not doing anything. And we gotta stop with this COVID theater. So, if you wanna wear it, fine. But this is — this is ridiculous,” he added before letting out an audible sigh and then beginning his speech.
NEW: @GovRonDeSantis annoyed with USF students—
“You do not have to wear those masks. Please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this Covid theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”https://t.co/7j1Pb2hV53 @WFLA pic.twitter.com/ZIOyTHLOh3
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 2, 2022
Viral support and outrage
Fox News noted that many prominent conservative personalities on social media quickly spread the clip far and wide and praised DeSantis for his correct and direct approach to pushing back against what many have similarly decried as “COVID theater,” such as mandatory masking.
But there was also plenty of pushback from the left and media, with some even accusing the governor of “berating” or yelling at the students and forcing them to remove their masks against their will — which wasn’t actually what happened, according to DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw.
“The kids laughed after he said it,” Pushaw told Fox. “They knew he wasn’t frustrated with them but with the peer pressure around masking in schools.”
Even the CDC admits masks are no longer necessary
In a statement to local NBC affiliate WFLA, which had helped foment the outraged liberal reaction, Pushaw said, “As the governor said, ‘you can wear them if you want’ but there’s ‘no evidence’ masks make any difference. That has been clear for a long time, and the data-informed our state’s official guidance.”
“Following Florida, the CDC has even stopped recommending mask wearing for most Americans,” she added about the federal agency’s abrupt about-face on the issue last week. “After two years of mixed messages from health authorities and the media, the governor wants to make sure everyone is aware of the facts and data now, so they can feel free and comfortable without a mask.”