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‘There’s Science on Both Sides’: Governor Reynolds Questions Science Behind Mask Guidelines While Encouraging Iowans to Wear Them

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

JOHNSTON, IOWA — Governor Kim Reynolds on Tuesday again encouraged Iowans to wear masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus one day after issuing new requirements requiring masks in some places. At the same time she also expressed doubt about the efficacy of masks and the science behind the recommendations for wearing them.

During her bi-weekly news conference on Tuesday, Governor Reynolds renewed her request for Iowans to wear masks whenever they can to slow the spread of the coronavirus even beyond the requirements of her new guidelines. But Reynolds also cast doubt on whether she believes that mask wearing actually works.

“You look at other state’s that have had a mask mandate for months and they’re seeing their cases continue to rise,” Reynolds said, defending her limited action on Monday as compared to stronger restrictions in neighboring states. The governor was then asked why she is increasing mitigation measures in light of her doubts about their potential impact. Reynolds said she considers the scientific conclusions on the matter to be unsettled, but that Iowans should still wear a mask in case it works.

“There’s science on both sides and you know that. If you look you can find whatever you want to support wherever you’re at. So what I’m saying is doing what you can,” Reynolds said when asked to offer scientific support for her targeted mitigation measures. “I think if you talk to different people there are different studies on both,” she added.

The Centers for Disease Control released a study last week that showed wearing a cloth face mask does lower a person’s chances of infection from airborne droplets. A spokesman for the Governor tells WHO 13: “The governor wasn’t referencing specific studies just different points of view Iowans have on the subject of masks.”

Governor Reynolds says that she will continue to make the personal choice to wear a mask and hopes all Iowans will join her. For those who are confused about the time and distance requirements in the mitigation efforts she announced Monday, the governor has some simple advice: “When in doubt, wear a mask.”

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