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VERIFY: Do mask mandates and lockdowns help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the two claims in his press conference about coronavirus in the state. It's the first time he addressed the rise in case numbers recently.

TAMPA, Fla. — On Monday, we heard from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the first time in weeks on COVID-19 in the state

He stayed firm saying Florida will remain open, ruling out lockdowns and mask mandates, because he says neither help fight the spread of the virus.

10 Tampa Bay's Angelina Salcedo put the governor's claims to the VERIFY test.

Question 1: Do mask mandates work?

A reporter asked DeSantis if he'd consider a statewide mask mandate in Florida.

"How has that worked out in states that have done it? Has it stopped an outbreak in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan? What about New Jersey? What about all these states where you have explosions in cases? I mean at what point does observed experience matter? I'm opposed to all mandates period. I don't think they work," DeSantis said. 

Governors in Michigan and Minnesota signed executive orders mandating masks in all public indoor spaces back in July, with fines for people who chose to defy them. 

If you look at COVID-19 cases in each state after the mandate orders took effect, the data shows cases either went down or leveled off.

"I respectfully disagree with the governor, as do many of my scientific colleagues and friends around the world. Masks work. Mask mandates may not work, but there's a difference. I do agree with him there. The challenge is enforcement," said Dr. Jay Wolfson with USF Public Health. 

Question 2: Do lockdowns help stop the spread of the virus?

Ron DeSantis says they don't.

"I think, respectfully, there's narratives that lockdowns work, and they don't. If you look at the evidence, business closures, all this stuff. The lie of the lockdown was if you just lockdown, then you can beat the virus. Well, why are we doing this two and three times then," DeSantis said.

The World Health Organization defines lockdowns as "large scale physical distancing measures and movement restrictions." 

WHO scientists say lockdowns can slow COVID‑19 transmission by limiting contact between people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci with the White House Coronavirus Task Force says lockdowns do work but need to be the last resort.

"For a particular city or town in which it's clear looks like they're overrunning their healthcare system, maybe the only thing you want to do or could do, is a temporary, two or three-week shutdown to try and relieve the burden, but that's not something you want to universally recommend for the country," Fauci said.

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