Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday voiced support of mask wearing and social distancing in public, in contrast to President Trump and many conservatives who have portrayed masks as a sign of weakness.
“There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying six feet apart,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky, according to Politico.
McConnell aimed his statements at younger Americans, telling them they have “an obligation to others” to avoid being carriers of the disease.
The comments come amid a fierce debate, largely split along partisan lines, about whether people should regularly wear masks in public.
Trump has been the most prominent opponent of mask wearing, mocking a reporter for wearing one and going maskless during appearances at a Honeywell plant in Arizona and a Ford plant in Michigan, both of which had policies requiring masks.
But not every Republican has fallen in line with the president. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum on Sunday made an emotional plea to stop politicizing masks, telling residents to “dial up your empathy and your understanding.”
Masks have become a key means of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, which can be transmitted through coughing, speaking or sneezing. The Centers for Disease Control have recommended that, in addition to maintaining 6 feet of distance when in public, people wear “simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
Musician Roseanne Cash took to Twitter to recount how her daughter was called a “liberal pussy” while wearing her mask at a Nashville grocery store. She noted that her daughter “nearly died of H1N1” and declared “she CANNOT get covid.”
“If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support. They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life, who currently have COVID, and they’re fighting,” Burgum said in his speech on Sunday.
Source: Forbes Business