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‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder tells New Mexico residents not to wear face masks

Coronavirus guidelines
  • Everybody at this point is likely aware of the common coronavirus guidelines you have to follow now when you’re out in public, like wearing a face mask in stores and on airplanes.
  • Face masks are one of the few tools that limit the spread of the disease, along with social distancing.
  • Still, face masks have staunch opponents, like one local politician in New Mexico who filmed a video urging residents not to wear face masks — and insisted that face masks are actually bad for you.

Are any of you out there still wondering why the coronavirus pandemic is as bad as it is and has lasted for as long as it has in the US, while most of the rest of the world seems to have gotten their version of it under control? On Thursday, the US surpassed 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Earlier this week, even President Trump finally acknowledged what’s been obvious to everyone else for a while now: The pandemic “will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. I don’t like saying that, but that’s the way it is.”

Here’s one reason why the pandemic is still getting worse, and aggressively so. You can chalk at least some of it up to a flouting of basic preventive behaviors people can practice, such as wearing face masks. The guidelines from bodies like the CDC around face masks have sparked consternation among misguided people around the country, like the anti-face maskers in Florida who went viral for screaming at local government officials about it. And yet, we actually still have local officials in parts of the country like Couy Griffin, an Otero County Commissioner in New Mexico, who is urging local residents to “take off the mask.”

In a video posted to Twitter, which you can see below, Griffin (who’s also the founder of “Cowboys for Trump”) peddles the falsehood that wearing a face mask actually weakens your immune system.

Admitting that he’s no “rocket scientist” or “medical expert,” Griffin argues that “the longer you wear the mask, the weaker your immune system is gonna be and the more susceptible you’re going to be to disease or viruses or bacteria or whatever.”

This comes as New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (a Democrat), mandated at the start of July that all residents in the state have to now wear face masks outdoors when they can’t practice social distancing. Moreover, just a few days ago the state also imposed renewed restrictions on indoor dining as a result of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Through Wednesday, according to media reports, more than 17,500 New Mexico residents have been infected with the coronavirus and almost 600 have died. Sadly, that will continue if this is the kind of advice that people listen to:

“Y’all, we have an immune system. We have an immune system that will keep us from getting sick,” Griffin insists in the video above. “I promise you,” he continues, assuring viewers that he’s “no Dr. Fawzi,” “but I believe that I do have enough common sense to know you’re not doing yourself any good … You need to take the masks off and quit breathing all that recycled air that’s going in and out, in and out.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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