Our take: Masks shouldn’t be a political issue | Editorial

The citizen editorial committee

A new New York public health order requiring mask-wearing was met with the expected partisan response from politicians when it was announced on Friday.

Republican officials have widely lambasted the measures, while offering no constructive ideas for reversing the spike in statewide COVID-19 cases that is once again driving hospitalizations and deaths. Democrats broadly backed the measure announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul, though a few said it was too late and/or not enough.

As we noted in this space a few weeks ago, we urge our readers, especially those who are skeptical about mask-wearing and vaccines, to focus on what medical professionals are saying and not The politicians.

Three weeks before Hochul’s mask announcement, multiple departments at an institution truly on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, Upstate University Hospital, released a letter to the community urging the public to continue to take the virus seriously and follow prevention advice.

Noting the high spread of COVID-19 that persisted throughout the fall season, they said:

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“Our unequivocal recommendation is that everyone get vaccinated and keep their mask on in public. We also encourage you to use other tools such as hand washing, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing to further protect yourself. These measures will help protect you and your loved ones from contracting this deadly disease.”

And for those who might be inclined to buy into some politicians’ cries that masks are bad for the economy, we refer you to the Business Council of New York State, which advocates for businesses to the state government. After the mask requirement was announced on Friday, the council said:

“As we have stated in the past regarding similar mandates, we support the necessary measures to help stop the spread of COVID. Our hope is that people follow the state directive and company employees do not. not putting you in the difficult position of having to enforce the mandate through confrontation.”

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 should be everyone’s collective goal. Wearing masks to help us get through the winter is something the medical and business community supports, and we urge everyone to just stay calm and follow their lead.

Citizen’s editorial board includes editor Michelle Bowers, editor Jeremy Boyer and editor Mike Dowd.

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