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Why are we still debating the use of masks?
Doron Dorfman, associate professor at Syracuse University College of Law, is available to speak to the media on issues surrounding laws and the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Professor Dorfman studies the intersections of health laws and social science to understand perceptions around public health. He recently co-authored the article “Mask Exemptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic—A New Frontier for Clinicians” for Jama Health Forum.
As the COVID pandemic races through communities, more states are requiring masks to be worn in public spaces. Today, Wal-Mart just announced that all customers in US stores must wear masks, making it the largest retailer to mandate facial coverings. However, disagreements over facial coverings still exist – a federal mandate has yet to be implemented – and confrontations of those not wearing masks have been amplified on social media.
Dorfman said this disagreement over a public health policy during a pandemic is centered on political divides.
“I think the objections for masks and the politicization of the issue are actually being fueled by partisan interests related to the elections,” said Dorfman. “The infringement on personal liberty is the main claim, but I do believe the conservative side of the political map is trying to find a cause to raise its voice in response to more progressive causes that were raised during the summer, specifically the BLM movement. At least on some level people on the right are looking for something to mobilize after and the mask issue seems to be a good fit.”
Prof. Dorfman currently teaches health law, disability law and employment discrimination at Syracuse University College of Law. Some of his recent interviews can be seen here:
- Dallas Morning News, “Masks are now required in Texas. What if you can’t wear one because of a medical condition?”
- CNY Central, “Governor Cuomo is Asking the Community to Enforce Mask Wearing.”
- Washington Post, “Calling Trump unwell doesn’t hurt Trump. It hurts disabled people.”
- Mississippi Today, “Disability denials can amount to a ‘death sentence’
- Law 360 (commentary) “COVID-19 May Help Lift FDA Policy On Gay Blood Donors.”
Please contact Ellen James Mbuqe, director of media relations at Syracuse University, at email@example.com or 412.496.0551 to request an interview.