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Will masks be required statewide? Officials say you should be wearing one anyway

Lincoln County recently backtracked on a rule that would have exempted people of color from having to wear face masks.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 6:38 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 6:47 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Amid calls from public health experts urging people to wear masks, the debate over masks has grown political.

Why is that? Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Lane County's senior public health officer, has some ideas.

"You know a pandemic is scary -- many people are fearful," he said. "So we're learning, and when there's that uncertainty, just not quite knowing, people tend to say well, 'This sounds good to me. That sounds good to me.'"

Others have a different opinion.

"I think people are more interested in their own person than they are about the well being of others. We see that in a lot of other issues in our society," said Joshua Little, a Eugene local.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, and other public health agencies all recommend wearing masks, especially because coronavirus can be transmitted without symptoms.

RELATED: LINCOLN COUNTY CHANGES MASK POLICY AFTER 'HORRIFICALLY RACIST COMMENTARY'

Lincoln County is one of seven counties the governor announced would require its residents to wear masks inside businesses.

County officials recently backtracked on a rule that would have exempted people of color from having to wear face masks. They said they did it after reports of racist, derogatory, and threatening calls from all over the country.

MORE: BROWN SAYS MASKS TO 'BECOME PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES'

Lane, Linn, Benton, Coos, and Douglas counties are not included in the seven and some people don't believe it would be well accepted if we were.

"Personally, I would be for it," said another Eugene resident, Jared Swezey. "Especially in confined spaces. As far as public acceptance it may not be well received with everybody."

And Dr. Luedtke said we should be doing it anyway.

"Except for kids under 2 anyone who cannot be in a position where they can guarantee social distancing should be wearing a mask," he said.

Luedtke says more than 90 percent of cases in Lane county were transmitted in the county, not from out of state or county.

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