In Wednesday’s edition, the Dothan Eagle editorial in this space lamented a cavalier attitude toward the recommended use of facial masks to fight the spread of COVID-19. Ironically, a front-page story about President Donald Trump’s executive order on policing standards was accompanied by a photograph of the president surrounded by lawmen applauding the order. The men were shoulder to shoulder behind the president’s chair, without a face mask in sight.

In Montgomery this week, the City Council considered a proposal that would mandate the use of masks in the capital city, which has become one of the state’s COVID-19 hot spots. The measure failed by a 4-4 vote; a group of doctors in the audience left in disgust.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall spoke out against a similar mandate by the city of Birmingham last month, saying he feared the move would lead to litigation.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in areas where mitigation measures were relaxed ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, and it doesn’t take an epidemiologist to make the connection between the incubation period and the uptick.

As if society needed one more thing to divide us, the face mask is now being viewed as a political statement.

That’s ridiculous. If a piece of cloth across one’s face can reduce the chance of infection with a potentially fatal illness for which there is no treatment, cure or vaccine, it should not take governmental intervention or the sight of masked elected officials to prompt its use.

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