The long arc of the pandemic and the issue of masks in SW Missouri

Dr. Robert McNab 11/17/20

On Monday, Presidents and Executives of six healthcare organizations that serve Southwest Missouri published an open letter requesting assistance from the elected officials of city and county governments to help slow the spread of COVID 19. On Tuesday, Dr. Robert McNab of Freeman Hospital in Joplin answered questions about the statement and provided his expertise from working on the front lines of the pandemic. McNab was first asked why Freeman Hospital wanted to be apart of the message reaching out to city and county officials? 

In response on Tuesday, the mayors of Webb City, Carthage, and Carl Junction issued a joint statement, saying that they would recommend wearing a mask in public but that they would not put a mask mandate in effect. While Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanely issued a separate statement, declaring that he wanted the city to work with other local governments to help. At Tuesday’s press conference, Dr. NcMan highlighted that the hospital community has reached out to Joplin city leader numerous times throughout the pandemic. 

On Thursday, at his weekly COVID 19 press briefing, Missouri Governor Mike Parson highlighted once again, in a variety of capacities, said that he will not issue a statewide mask ordinance regardless of the levels of COVID 19 positivity, or the number of fatalities that occur. According to Parson, it is not the government’s role to mandate citizens in protecting themselves against the pandemic. Dr. McNab sees it differently. 

Throughout the pandemic in the US, the wearing of masks in public has continued to be divisive on many levels. Perhaps most of all there effectiveness in preventing from people getting sick and perhaps dying. Dr. McNab shared his first-hand experience. 

Dr. Robert McNab was speaking Tuesday about the letter published and signed this week by six Presidents and executives of healthcare facilities that serve Southwest Missouri and the status of the pandemic in the region.

On Thursday night, in a special session, the Joplin City Council voted 6 to 3  in favor of a mask ordinance that is effective immediately. The measure will be in effect until February 28, 2021, unless the city council amends it before then.


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