Mask Debate: Should face masks be worn in public amid COVID-19?

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) —  Whether you’re on the fence of wearing a face mask in public or not, doctors are urging us all to do our part and wear them in public.

Cases of COVID-19 have increased in recent weeks, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.

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And during these spikes, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has taken to social media to voice his concerns on this pandemic.

Dr. Dobbs has been urging people to wear masks in public, something Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton made mandatory this week.

“Here in Tupelo we did the executive order to mandate wearing face coverings, face mask cloth over your face in public and indoor places in the city of Tupelo,” said Shelton. “And that’s again at the request of the North Mississippi Medical Center and the Tupelo economic recovery task force.”

Shelton hopes Governor Tate Reeves will soon make masks mandatory for the entire state.

“You know I hope the governor will take this serious and be proactive,” said Shelton. “I know he doesn’t like to do that but it is necessary. We got to listen to our healthcare professionals, we got to listen to our scientists, we got to do what our healthcare professionals tell us to prevent us from getting sick.”

In Columbus, wearing a face mask in public is not mandatory, but Mayor Robert Smith is encouraging people to wear them anytime they are out.

Some folks in Columbus said they are on board with wearing face masks in public.

“Please if you’re not wearing a mask start wearing one,” said Melvin Johnson. “They are uncomfortable, but, they help save lives.”

“I feel like face masks are important,” said Jaimarkuz Cox. “I actually have a face mask I just don’t have to wear it when I’m by myself. But when I’m around other people I feel like it is very important to wear a face mask.”

James Harris, admits masks and Mississippi humidity don’t mix.

“I mean it helps out with keeping the germs of the Coronavirus down and all, but in this heat like it is right here, it makes it hard to breathe,” he said.

Columbus and Starkville leaders will address a mandatory mask ordinance at their meetings on Tuesday.

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