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Minnesota governor says politicization of mask wearing 'one of the worst things that's happened to this country'

Minnesota governor says politicization of mask wearing 'one of the worst things that's happened to this country'
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Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzMinnesota offering state fair tickets, fishing licenses to promote coronavirus vaccines Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers Minnesota House votes to legalize marijuana MORE (D) on Thursday blasted the politicization of protective face masks that has occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The politicization around masks, I think history is going to write as one of the worst things that’s happened to this country," Walz said at a press conference, according to WCCO-TV.

"I think it cost lives," he said of the pushback against masks by those who view them as a political statement. "I think it’s stupid. It’s the least intrusive thing we can do."

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Walz faced criticism when he issued a statewide mask mandate in July that required the usage of protective face coverings while indoors in public settings and businesses.

Walz's comments come as he's working to end most of Minnesota's COVID-19 policies by incentivizing getting vaccinated. He's aiming to end the mask mandate as soon as possible, but wants 70 percent of those eligible to get at least one vaccine dose first. He's pledged to lift it by July 1 regardless.

"If you don’t like the mask, then let’s get vaccinated," Walz said.