DES MOINES, IOWA — This morning a small group of Iowans gathered outside the State Capitol to greet state lawmakers and offer a counter-point to a demonstration inside the building earlier this week that encouraged Iowans to disregard CDC recommendations on stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
The ‘Mask Up Iowa Demonstration’ was made up of only a few Iowans. They greeted lawmakers safely outside the Capitol to talk to them about introducing a statewide mask mandate. On Monday lawmakers were met on the first day of the session by a group of hundreds of people inside the Capitol rotunda demonstrating against mask-wearing and other mitigation efforts in place to stop the spread of the virus that has killed 4,000 Iowans.
“Honestly it makes me sad,” says Tanya Keith, one of the organizers of Wednesday’s event, “I had COVID-19 in May and through most of June. And so, it’s a sad for me to think that those people might get sick and spread it to other people who don’t have a choice about being in this building or not, whether they’re janitors or legislators or staff workers.”
Several lawmakers met with the group to hear their concerns. Physicians echo those concerns, as well. They say wearing a mask isn’t about limiting rights, it is about saving lives.
“This is not a political statement. This is a public health crisis, we have to take control of this this is a pandemic and we have to control this,” says Dr. Aneesa Afroze, President of Medical Staff at MercyOne in Des Moines.