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Florida newspaper editorial board asks DeSantis to issue statewide mask order: 'We're dying here'

A prominent South Florida newspaper is urging Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Group of Florida mayors calls on DeSantis to issue mask mandate DeSantis promises to keep Florida open despite recent coronavirus case surge MORE (R) to issue a statewide mask mandate and take other actions to stop the spread of the coronavirus across the Sunshine State.

In an editorial titled “Help us out, Gov. DeSantis. We’re dying here,” The Sun Sentinel’s editorial board warned that the pandemic “continues to careen out of control in Florida.”

“Far better that you require people to wear masks in public than to continue fostering conditions that will force another shutdown,” the board wrote. “Your refusal to impose a mask order — a requirement now in effect in 32 other states — is out-of-touch with the mainstream.”

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“A new Quinnipiac poll found 79 percent of Floridians support a mask requirement, including 60 percent of Republicans. If that’s not a mandate, what is?” the editorial continued. 

DeSantis has repeatedly urged Floridians to wear masks, but he, and several other Republican governors, have beat back pressure to mandate face coverings in public.

However, he’s faced rising calls for more stringent action as Florida sees one of the most serious spikes in coronavirus cases in the country. The state reported 257 deaths Friday, setting a new record for single-day deaths for the fourth straight day.

“Your daily upbeat message is hopelessly at odds with what Floridians are going through,” the editorial said. “You make it sound like everything is headed in the right direction. But it's not.”

Studies and experts have maintained that wearing a mask is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. 

Florida has had more than 470,300 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and has the second-highest number of cases behind just California.