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Lee Health medical worker urge commissioners to approve mask mandate

Staff at every Lee Health hospital say now is the time for Lee County leaders to step up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman shared his thoughts Tuesday by sharing a graphic on Twitter he says proves masks are unnecessary to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Elliot Goldner is among Lee Health professionals who would like to see a mask mandate in place.

“The conversation really started with, ‘What are we doing? What else can we be doing to help more?’” Goldner said.

Goldner said he continues to see a lot of COVID-19 patients. He hopes the commissioners respond by at least debating the issue in public.

“I’m less concerned with a direct response to myself and the other presidents, but I do expect them to continue a public conversation,” Goldner said.

In Hamman’s post, he argues education works just as well as a mask mandate.

“You can tell any story with stats,” said Tom Smythe, an FGCU professor of finance.

Smythe looked at the numbers for us. He said Hamman’s graphic does not show the whole picture. Smythe said the better data to look at would be the change in positive cases from week to week, which right now looks more like a zig zag line. He said that’s better than looking at the change in the total number of cases from week to week.

Hamman did not talk to us, so we could not ask him if he’ll bring the mask mandate up at the next commissioners meeting set for Tuesday. We do know the question is not currently on the agenda.

While respecting his medical staff’s opinion, Dr. Larry Antonucci, the CEO and president of Lee Health, said he also does not support a mask mandate.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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