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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who on Saturday extended the statewide indoor mask order by 30 days, continues to defy the presidential politics of Donald Trump, who on Tuesday kept up his steady drumbeat of casting doubt on the efficacy of face coverings to combat COVID-19 spread.
Trump’s questioning of mask wearing runs counter to his own head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who in testimony before Congress recently said mask wearing may ultimately prove more effective than a future vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield reportedly said, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.” Redfield also said it will likely be the third quarter of 2021 before an effective vaccine is widely distributed.
Nearly 200,000 Americans have died from the global pandemic since it first started spreading in the United States in February, shutting down vast swaths of the U.S. economy.
Trump was recently exposed in widely respected Watergate journalist Bob Woodward’s new book for saying he knew how deadly and easily transmitted COVID-19 was in January but purposefully downplayed the disease. On Wednesday, Trump disputed Redfield on both masks and a vaccine timeline, saying it will be available much sooner.
Polis, in extending the statewide indoor mask order, said wearing a face covering can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by as much as 65%. On Thursday, Polis announced more than 1 million masks have been delivered to Colorado schools. Here’s that press release:
DENVER – Governor Jared Polis announced today the State of Colorado has provided 1,112,000 medical-grade masks to public and private teachers and student facing faculty this Fall in order to help keep them safe from COVID-19.
“This is a challenging time for students, parents, and teachers which is why the State committed to providing teachers with masks, and today we are thrilled to announce that the State has provided over 1 million masks to Colorado’s teachers,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I’ve visited schools across Colorado and have heard from teachers, superintendents, and educators about how they believe mask-wearing is important to keep themselves and students safe and to ensure we can overcome the challenges created by this virus together. I also want to extend my thanks to the State Emergency Operations Center and Colorado Department of Education staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure these masks were delivered to our teachers.”
In July, Gov. Polis announced that the state would be distributing KN95 masks to teachers each week in public schools across the state for at least 10 weeks, regardless of whether the school is starting in-person, in a hybrid manner, or remotely. The week of September 14 marked the seventh week of this program. This summer, the Governor also announced it would also provide masks to private school teachers across the state.