The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing masks for all who are unvaccinated, including children.
In a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that masks "create harm" by disrupting other efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission among children at school.
Corcoran made his remarks during an episode of "Fox & Friends" that discussed masking rules for children in school.
"The masks are the lowest mitigation factor, if at all," Corcoran, a Republican official selected by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, said. "It actually creates harm to those other ones that work, like social distancing."
Corcoran's allegation runs counter to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC urges mask usage to stop the spread of the virus among all unvaccinated people, vaccinated people with weakened immune systems, and all people in indoor public spaces in areas woth high rates of transmission.
Just a week ago, a federal judge ruled in favor of parents who sued DeSantis and Corcoran over the governor's order that banned school districts from enforcing mask mandates. DeSantis has said that he will appeal the decision.
His administration on Monday began withholding funds from districts who chose to make mask-wearing mandatory in classrooms despite DeSantis' ban.
Recent data has suggested that hospitalizations for children have been higher than at other points of the pandemic due to the prominence of the highly contagious delta variant.
"Fox and Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade, who conducted the interview with Corcoran, weighed in in his favor, complaining that the Biden administration was making Republican officials from Florida and Texas "the bad guys."
"Once again, the cases are going down and telling the story," Kilmeade said.
But Florida hospitals have reported that 95% of beds in intensive care units are in use due to the COVID-19 surge, even though cases have begun a slight decline.
From the Sept. 1 edition of Fox News' "Fox & Friends":
RICHARD CORCORAN: So you're going to watch over the next several weeks, you're going to see cases decline. And a lot of that is because kids are at school, where they're there with their teachers, they're with their coaches, there's more discipline, more structure.
There's more – doing those mitigation things that really do matter, like proper hygiene, washing your hands, or maintain a safe distance from each other. Those really work. The masks are the lowest mitigation factor, if at all. It actually creates harm to those other ones that work, like social distancing.
BRIAN KILMEADE, Fox News: It's just a shame, you have an administration that wants to mandate everything, and you have Florida and Texas who they like to target, to make you guys the bad guys.
But once again, the cases are going down and telling the story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.