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'It's a lie': Florida surgeon general claims masks don't save lives

This is not the first time the Florida surgeon general showed his dislike for wearing masks.

TAMPA, Fla. — A day after Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines for telling a group of students they did not have to wear masks and suggesting doing so was "COVID theater," another member of his administration also made his opinion of masks abundantly clear.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo on Thursday claimed that face masks don't save lives.

During a news conference with DeSantis in Panama City, Ladapo pulled out a mask from his pocket and used it as a "prop."

"It's hard to find these in Florida, you got to look hard, but if you know where to look, you’ll find them," he joked while holding up the mask. "Unfortunately we have a country right now where most people…think that these things are saving lives."

He goes on to say the real things that save lives are freedom to speak, freedom to find truth, immunity, early treatments and being healthy.

"No high-quality data says [masks] saved any lives and it’s a lie," Ladapo said. "...It needs to stop and people need to unbelieve it."

This is not the first time the Florida surgeon general showed his dislike for mask-wearing. Back in October, he was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition. It was later revealed to be breast cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, well-fitting face coverings and respirators have shown effectiveness in filtering virus-sized particles in lab settings, but "few studies" have measures their "real-word effectiveness" in preventing people from getting COVID-19.

The CDC says N95 and KN95 respirators are most effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The CDC says cloth masks have been shown to be least effective. Click here to read more about that research, which the CDC has made available.

"Layered prevention strategies" work best, the CDC says. That means considering masks while also thinking about other measures like washing your hands regularly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Several measures at once can help you find the most protection and comfort in your life.

Here are the CDC recommendations for when to wear a mask.

Florida's newest state-level masking guidance advises against face coverings in "a community setting." The reason the state gives is "a lack of evidence that masks, and particularly cloth face coverings, prevent the transmission of COVID-19."

The CDC last week released updated guidelines in terms of where to wear masks depending on the number of hospital beds in use, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

Looking at the CDC data, all surrounding Tampa Bay counties are labeled as "high" for the COVID-19 community level which means people are advised to do the following:

Watch the full news conference down below:

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