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Alaska Senate Judiciary committee discusses practicality, constitutionality of mask mandates

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:08 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Senate Judiciary Committee met on Wednesday, February 10th, to hear presentations on, and discuss the effectiveness of masks, as well as the constitutionality of government mandates in response to COVID-19.

The meeting topics revolved around Governor Mike Dunleavy’s disaster declaration and its potential extension.

Committee Chair Lora Reinbold, introduced Process Safety Management Consultant, Scott Stansbury who discussed the differences in effectiveness between cloth and surgical masks.

According to Stansbury, cloth masks are ineffective at preventing an individual from contracting COVID-19 due in part to their thread-count as compared to the size of SARS-CoV-2 particles.

Stansbury went on to explain how the misuse of masks has been linked to health issues saying, “Human factors are probably the largest contributing factor causing the transmission of the disease from person to person. Very few people, if ever, wash reusable masks. They will shove them in their pocket, throw them on a car seat, put them on a desk, wherever they might be. That’s where it sits. They never sanitize their hands.”

Following Stansbury’s testimony, Reinbold discussed the constitutionality of mask mandates, questioning their compliance with civil liberties.

Senator Jesse Kiehl followed up on the presentation by saying he was confused by the discussion being had about the size of a single virus particle.

Kiehl questioned the notion that the virus was being expelled in particles, countering that SARS-CoV-2 is spread through droplets instead.

“What I generally have read is that masks are relatively effective in protecting transmission by expulsion of the droplets and microdroplets that infected people give off when they speak, shout or sing,” Kiehl said.

The full video of the meeting can be found here.

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