To The Editor: 

Gov. Parson’s refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate has and will cost lives. All scientific evidence points that masks worn correctly can protect both the wearer and others from spreading COVID-19.

We are in the midst of a pandemic the likes of which we’ve not seen for a century and the governor’s refusal to require a simple and inexpensive means to mitigate the virus spread is nothing short of negligent.

Here are some facts: the Missouri Hospital Association wrote Gov. Parson a letter urging a statewide mandate because our state’s hospitals are at a breaking point; while COVID-19 numbers surged across Missouri, Parson announced relaxing the K-12 school reopening and operating guidance; at the time of this writing 3,540 Missourians have lost their lives to COVID-19 — more than the total number of people who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The effectiveness of mask wearing has been proven scientifically. In fact, one study here in Missouri showed that two COVID-19-positive hairstylists did not pass the virus on to any of their 139 clients. The stylists and their clients wore masks.

Thirty-five states have a mask mandate. Many of them, like Utah, Ohio, North Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa have Republican governors. This isn’t about politics. This is about science and safety and in many cases, the difference between life and death.

I implore the governor to lead and to govern in a way that protects Missourians. Issue a statewide mask mandate.

Suzanne Miller Farrell

Former Washington resident