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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors focusing new attention on mask mandate

The mandatory wearing of a face coverings continues to be a hot topic across the country and right here in Arizona.

PHOENIX — Maricopa County leaders are focusing new attention on the current mask mandate in place requiring people to wear face coverings in public. 

This comes as new cases of COVID-19 continue to plateau, and more businesses re-open. So, should masks be mandatory? 

Back in June, Gov. Doug Ducey supported all Arizonans wear protective face coverings as the virus spread throughout the state. 

“I’ve talked about masks. Dr. Christ has talked about masks. I said I am in favor of masks,” Ducey said during a press conference.

The mandatory wearing of a face-covering continues to be a hot topic across the country and right here in Arizona.

Last week during his testimony before a Senate subcommittee, Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield said wearing face masks may be more effective at protecting against the virus that a vaccine. 

President Donald Trump refuted Redfield's comments as a misunderstanding to the subcommittee's questioning. 

"I'm not going to comment directly about the president, but I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks, these face masks, are the most important powerful public health tool we have," Redfield said.

Arizonans continue to wrestle if wearing a mask should be mandatory:

“It has to mandatory. I think a voluntary approach always has too many cracks and gaps in them.”  

“Some people look at it as a matter of respect but which I totally understand, but I don’t think it should be mandatory.”  

“I think it should remain mandatory especially since there is no cure yet."

“I think it should be relaxed a little bit.”  

“I don’t think it’s the government’s right to tell us if we should wear a mask or not.”  

Now as new cases of the virus plateau, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and local health officials are discussing if a mandate should remain in place.  

“There is no debate at this point. Masks do help decrease transmission,” said former director for both Maricopa and Pima County Public Health, Dr. Bob England. England says face covering have helped lead to lower numbers of Covid-19 in Arizona today. He wishes the practice would not be politized by Democrats and Republicans.

"Masks are clearly effective but not perfect, similar to that of a vaccine," England said. 

But similar to people receiving a vaccine, he says wearing a mask leads to a social form of herd immunity. 

"Most of the benefit from a vaccine isn't from your own personal protection. Most of it is because enough people around you have gotten vaccinated that the virus has a hard time finding someone to spread so you never get exposed in the first place."

He says there is no doubt that masks cut the rate of transmission down and everyone has the responsibility. “By wearing it, you are displaying that you care about your neighbors,” England said.   

Maricopa Public Health officials advised the board Monday morning that masks work and that wearing them should remain in place until the county sees a lower positivity rate. As of now no decision is expected to be made by the board to change the mandate.