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My position on mask mandates, gathering restrictions, closures, etc. I think it is abundantly clear. I don’t support them. I can’t. It is contrary to my belief in limited government and personal responsibility.

However, I DO voluntarily wear a mask and social distance and have not had any issue with businesses requiring customers to wear them as it is their property, and they can decide things like that.

I have seen several statements from people who think Gov. Kim Reynolds issued her order as a power grab. They say this pandemic isn’t serious. She’s blowing things way out of proportion.

Look, if our hospitalization rates had not skyrocketed, there would be no mandates in the state of Iowa.

Throughout this pandemic, hospitalizations were the only metric I was ultimately concerned about. Governor Reynolds reported during a press conference today that there are currently over 1500 Iowans hospitalized for COVID-19.

This is more than double where we were a few weeks ago. We are averaging 200 new admissions daily. This is in addition to other patients.

Our state’s hospitals are almost at capacity.

I think one mistake Governor Reynolds’ office made with reporting hospital capacity was to base it just on inpatient beds, ICU beds, and ventilators.

As one physician connected to the University of Iowa Medical Center recently said (my paraphrase) that particular view of capacity would be fine if hospitals were hotels and that patients didn’t need staff. But hospitals are not hotels, and patients do need staff.

So while the state is under capacity for beds, we are essentially at staff capacity. Speaking to several medical professionals I know, staffing capacity is strained. This will impact everyone who needs our health care system.

So this is serious. This order was not done on a whim. It was building up.

So I find myself once again in between two camps: the pro-mandate, lock-down camp and the “it’s a hoax, be free, just live your life as though nothing is happening” camp.

As I said at the beginning of this article, I don’t agree with mandates, but I believe in personal responsibility. I urge people to be responsible. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands frequently. Wear a mask (unless a medical condition prohibits you from wearing one) as much as you can when you are indoors and around other people. Put some physical space (six feet) in-between yourself and others when possible.

This is not living in fear, it’s showing love and concern for your neighbors. Will the virus still spread? Probably, but will it spread as quickly? Probably not, and it may eliminate the reason we have mandates issued at all.

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