'Just a no-brainer': Doctor critical of Gov. Parson's refusal to implement statewide mask mandate

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Many members of the local medical community say they're not pleased Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is again refusing to make it mandatory to wear a face covering across the state.

Parson says he trusts Missourians to make the right choice to wear a mask when out in public -- but it should be left up to each individual he says or to local leaders.

SLU Care General Internist Dr. Fred Buckhold at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital says he thinks it needs to go farther than that.

"Cleary, mask wearing has a benefit in reducing spread," Buckhold says. "And there's a difference I think with any intervention about policy versus a request and that's really just based on human psychology. When there's a mandate it tends to get done on a broader scale then if it's done just at people's own volition."

Parson reaffirmed his stance to not implement a statewide face mask mandate last week. It comes after he was cleared to return to his office since testing positive for COVID-19. Both he and his wife tested positive on Sept. 23.

Dr. Buckhold says there's a high benefit low risk to mandatory mask wearing -- and as far as he is concerned, it's "just a no brainer at this point."

"I think it's the government's job in a time of mass emergency that we have to kind of organize ourselves to push things that are going to save people's lives," Buckhold says. "It has a very minimal downside and very large upside."

Nearly 2,500 in Missouri have died due to COVID-19.