Unfortunately, newly elected Florence City Councilman Bryan Braddock learned the wrong lesson at the recent meeting. The decision to continue the mask requirement was a public health issue, not a political one, and his Democrat colleagues were correct to continue the ordinance.
It is reasonable to expect that knowledge experts will be consulted before making decisions, especially regarding public health, and not obtained from the social media “misinfodemic.“ That masks protect against respiratory diseases has been known for over a century and recently even quantified by type of mask material.
Wearing masks provides bi-directional protection — for both the wearer and others nearby. The “right” of the few to not wear masks is superseded by the “right” to a safe environment for all.
Promoting public safety is the primary responsibility of our elected officials. The city council should continue to use the recommendations from those whose job it is to know the latest information during these challenging times – South Carolina DHEC, the CDC and other recognized public health authorities.
Evidence accumulates and local context is important, but for now, continue to wear your mask.
F. RICHARD ERVIN, MD, MBA, FACP, FIDSA