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During the Wednesday episode of MSNBC Reports, guest panelist Dr. Lipi Roy admitted that she found it “disturbing” that Americans would exercise their “freedom” in choosing to wear a mask or not.
Roy’s comments came in response to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle voiding the Biden administration’s travel mask mandate on Monday.
MSNBC Reports anchor José Díaz-Balart prompted Roy by speaking to the “confusion” prompted by the mask mandate being struck down in the courts.
“Dr. Roy, There’s a lot of confusion on where you can and cannot where a mask. Masking is still required on all New York City public transportation and includes its two major airports. It’s also required in Chicago, San Francisco – masking optional for Amtrak riders and for Uber and Lyft riders,” he said.
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Díaz-Balart listed several other areas of transportation where masks are required, and then asked his guest, “What concerns do you have, doctor, about people continuing to take public transportation without masks, with masks?”
“It’s very confusing,” he added.
Dr. Roy immediately voiced her concern, stating, “As a doctor who lives and breathes in this space It’s confusing for me and my fellow colleagues.”
She added, “Of course, this is going to be confusing for the public – the variation in masking requirements, policies, state to state, city to city, and within even a certain state.”
Roy then mentioned her alarm upon hearing airline pilots tell passengers and crew they don’t have to wear masks anymore. “Look, I was watching an NBC clip where I think I heard a Delta pilot say, ‘Look you don’t need to wear a mask anymore, um, feel free to exercise your freedom.’”
“So, I got to tell you, José, as a doctor, and I think I speak on behalf of a lot of fellow – especially front line health care professionals, the fact that we’re using that ongoing narrative of ‘exercising your freedom’ is still very disturbing to me.”
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Roy explained why she had this attitude. “We are, what? Three years now into this pandemic? I’ll emphasize what I’ve said to you many, many times and to other media outlets, that this SARS-COV2 virus simply does not care about a person’s religious, cultural, or political beliefs, it just wants to be able to infect you, if you allow it.”
Roy claimed, “And the CDC has made very clear, that masking, just even temporarily in certain situations, where you’re in crowded spaces, is enough to protect you from getting infected.”
The doctor then reminded viewers that though they may be young and healthy, they’re still possibly endangering the vulnerable without masks and could get long COVID.
“What concerns me is the adverse and potentially fatal impact on society’s most vulnerable. Look, we know that this virus, should it infect people like you and me, José, it not’s not going to really get us seriously sick or hospitalized or kill us, but I’m worried about long COVID.”
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She continued, “Right now, José, I couldn’t tell you, should you and I get long COVID, what those symptoms would look like. And B, I’m concerned about protecting society’s most vulnerable, elderly, immune-compromised and young children who can’t get vaccinated.”
She then characterized CDC mask recommendations as a “such a small, small sacrifice to assess how we do clinically and if health care systems have the capacity to respond.”
After President Biden said wearing masks is “up to” travelers to decide, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday it will appeal the mask mandate ruling if the CDC deems it necessary.