Governor Walz Should Not Impose a Statewide Mask Mandate

For Immediate Release­­
July 20, 2020

There is No Evidence that Cloth Masks Protect Against Viruses 

ST. PAUL, Minn. Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) opposes a statewide mask mandate for its home state of Minnesota.

Eleven cities in Minnesota have mandated masks, with various exemptions, while other city councils are still discussing whether they should mandate everyone wear a mask to engage in life outside the home. Governor Walz has long encouraged people to wear masks, however, last week stated that if House Republicans offer legislation to impose masks, he is willing to eliminate the capacity limits on retail businesses, which he issued through executive orders.

“Governor Walz has rightly said that imposing masks as deaths and hospitalizations decline is a hard case to make. Rather than hold the state’s economy hostage as he tries to get state legislators to impose the mandate, Governor Walz should abandon the very idea of forcing people to wear a mask,” said Twila Brase, RN, PHN, and president and co-founder of CCHF.

Brase points to the World Health Organization, which has written an interim guidance on June 5: “At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID-19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”

“Even the University of Minnesota’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Mike Osterholm, in a recent presentation, points to what he calls the ‘highest frequency of mask-wearing population in the world’ in Hubei, China and says, ‘it didn’t make a difference.’ Very pointedly, he states, ‘If you don’t have an N-95 [mask] you’re not protected.’ Dr. Osterholm furthers worries that those at risk of severe COVID disease assume the mask gives them a level of protection they don’t really have and then put themselves in harm’s way,” she continued.

A study pointed out by Dr. Osterholm inpodcast transcribed on his department’s website page, found a penetration rate of 97 percent for cloth masks, finding only 3 percent of particles being stopped by the mask.

“Cloth masks are leaky, in both directions, and they won’t stop this very tiny virus from being transmitted around and through them. Masks also encourage people to touch their face, and as the W.H.O. says, use of masks has ‘critical risks,’” Brase explained. “It’s time to tell people the truth about cloth masks. They don’t protect against COVID-19. They may stop the big drops, but as Dr. Osterholm says, “it’s the little particles coming around the sides that are the problem.’”

“Governor Walz should use his position to share the truth about masks and then let people live and breathe freely so that the open air and their immune system, along with social distancing and handwashing, can better protect them from COVID-19, she said.

CCHF maintains a patient-centered, privacy-focused, free-market perspective. CCHF has worked in its home state of Minnesota and at the national level for more than 20 years to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights. In 2016, CCHF launched The Wedge of Health Freedom, an online directory of direct-pay practices (

Twila Brase, RN, PHN has been named by Modern Healthcare as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care.” She is the host of the daily Health Freedom Minute radio program heard by over 5 million weekly listeners on more than 800 radio stations nationwide, and the author of the eight-time award-winning book, Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records.


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