Florida Doctors Advise Local Governments To Enact Coronavirus Mask Orders

The Florida Medical Association, an organization for doctors in Florida, called on local governments to require people to wear masks as the state's coronavirus cases continue to rise.

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Medical Association (FMA) President Ronald F. Giffler, MD, JD, MBA, today offered the /1 pic.twitter.com/qhJAo16Ti2

— Florida Medical Association (@FloridaMedical) June 19, 2020

FMA issued their statement from president Ronald L. Giffler encouraging the regulations on Friday.

"In response to a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases, the Florida Medical Association (FMA) the state's largest physician organization, encourages local officials to adopt regulations requiring individuals to wear face coverings in public places," Giffler wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

The Florida doctors' association issued its recommendation in response to the rise in coronavirus numbers in the state. The state reported 4,049 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, a new record that surpassed Friday's total of 3,822 and Thursday's of 3,207. Both Thursday and Friday's numbers were record highs for new cases at the time.

FMA also commended local governments that have already required masks to be used in public places.

The organization's guidelines for when and how to use masks match those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's cloth face mask covering recommendations, which advise people to wear face masks, especially in places where social distancing is difficult or not possible.

"[T]he FMA unequivocally endorses this public health measure," Giffler wrote in the statement. "Wearing a mask may save your life and the lives of others."

The statement concluded with a warning that even if an individual is not showing symptoms, they can still spread the virus and encouragement to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Asymptomatic infected individuals can release infectious aerosol particles while breathing and speaking. Not wearing a mask or face covering increases exposure, whereas universal masking greatly reduces the spread of viral particles. The message is simple: For the sake of your health and the health of everyone around you, Florida's doctors want you to wear a mask," the FMA statement said.

During a press conference Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that masks should be voluntary, but that people should still follow local governments' regulations regarding people not wearing masks during protests on police brutality and systemic racism. "I've always said, 'Y'know this has to be voluntary, because the Constitution's not suspended just because there's a virus. You have a right to protest. You have a right to go to religious services," he said.

Newsweek reached out to the FMA for comment via phone and email, but did not receive a response in time for publication. FMA's voicemail message said that no one was in the office for the weekend. Press contacts at the Florida governor's office and the Florida Department of Health did not respond to Newsweek's emailed requests for comment in time for publication

Diane, a nurse from Houston, Texas, sunbathes at the beach next to her husband, both wearing facemasks, in Miami Beach, Florida on June 16, 2020. EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP/Getty