Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — A controversial post by a local politician challenges what health experts have said about the need for face masks.

In a Facebook video, Placer County District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler compares wearing a face mask to the red ribbon used to support AIDS awareness, claiming that it does not help solve the issue.

“Let me introduce you to the 2020 COVID-19 edition of the red ribbon the face mask,” Uhler said in the post. “Thinking you are going to be protecting yourself or somebody else, you might as well be walking around wearing one of these.”

Uhler encourages those who are at high risk to wear face masks but believes it is unnecessary for everyone else.

“The mask is designed to protect the wearer, however, the mask is not designed to stop something from out of my mouth and into the environment around,” he said.

His comments have got the attention of around 25,000 people since it was posted on June 10. He has received both support and backlash.

READ ALSO: Best Way To Reduce Coronavirus Transmission Is By Wearing A Face Mask, Study Finds

“I think it is really irresponsible to be saying something like that to the public because it is just not a symbol,” said Placer County resident Stephanie Heniret.

Local Roseville shop owner Shayni George doesn’t require her customers to wear masks inside her store.

“If I’m told to wear a mask, I wear a mask but I’m not going to lie, I do get kind of resentful,” she said. “I have a chemistry degree, for me, the science is not there.”

Researchers out of California and Texas claim wearing face masks is the most effective way to stop the virus. The study cited infection rate trends that dramatically declined only after face masks were made mandatory in New York and Italy.

Another study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities suggest 100% use of masks when paired with lockdowns, could stop the virus until a vaccine is available.

“They are effective if everyone wears them. If I’m the only one wearing them and no one else is I’m not going to be protected against coronavirus, said Heniret. “The more masks we wear the less droplets are going to get in the air, and the less droplets in the air the less infection.”

While masks are strongly encouraged by Placer County, they are not required. According to the county’s website, face coverings may protect others from infection. Wearing a face covering may help prevent the spread of droplets that might be infectious.

“Let’s not be afraid to live our lives. We have had nine deaths in Placer County. We are a county of 400,000 people,” Uhler said.

As of Friday night, there were 344 cases confirmed in Placer County.


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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