INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb instituted a mask mandate that goes into effect Monday, but he knows not everybody will be in favor of it.
Some in the state have been reluctant to follow along to Holcomb’s recommendations to wear a mask. He was repeatedly asked Wednesday how to get those people following along with the new mandate.
“It’s going to take a lot of us,” Holcomb said. “Yes, there are folks who are hard-headed. And by the way, I am encouraged that from the local level, to the state level, to the national level, hopefully there is one message being received.”
He cited President Donald Trump’s recent comment on wearing masks, where he called it patriotic. Not wearing a mask will be a Class B Misdemeanor, but Holcomb said the "mask police" won’t be patrolling the streets.
“This is nothing I wanted to do,” Holcomb said. “This is not about what I want to do or wished would be. This is what the reality is. I would just ask people to recognize that the sooner that we get through this, the better it will be because we were all in it together.”
Over the weekend, dozens of people rallied at the Indiana Statehouse, protesting against wearing masks.
Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan also clarified some misinformation seen online about the safety of wearing masks, specifically that wearing a mask traps carbon dioxide and cuts off oxygen from getting to you.
“Masks have holes in them,” Sullivan said. “The fabric is not solid. The molecules that go back and forth across those masks are smaller than the holes in the fabric. That doesn’t matter if it’s a cloth mask or an N-95 or an N-95 with a mask over the top. You can breathe in and out with those just like you can without one on. No worries about toxins, no worries about carbon dioxide retention. Some of the smartest people in the world wear masks all day for their jobs. I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s going to be fine. In fact, we have kids that wear masks all the time when they’re sick, especially kids with cancer, and they can’t take them off. They grow up and thrive and do very, very well. … We’re trying to make sure to get good information out to the public to make sure you’re not scared. There are many reasons to be scared right now. Masks are not one of them.”
State EMS Medical Director Dr. Michael Kaufman reiterated Sullivan’s point, and discussed the topic of oxygen with masks.
“Masks do not lower your oxygen levels,” he said. “They do not increase your carbon dioxide levels. Many, many surgeons, as Dr. Sullivan pointed out, physicians, we wear masks in the emergency department, sometimes continuously for 8-12 hours and are all doing just fine at the end of the day and maintaining ourselves as COVID-free. So, wear your mask. Wash your hands.”