BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s mandatory state mask covering order is set to expire on Friday. Health leaders credit the order for helping reduce the number of people getting COVID-19 and hospitalizations.
The number of positive cases and hospitalizations has dramatically dropped from where we were just weeks ago. Health leaders said the trend is good, but not good enough to give up on the face mask mandate.
Doctors across Alabama and health leaders all agree the face mask order has saved lives. Dr. Don Williamson, Head of the Alabama Hospital Association, said his group urges Governor Ivey to give another extension of the order. Williamson said while hospitalizations have dropped to 662 people, the lowest point since early September, he said it’s still too high. With deaths approaching 10,000 in the state of Alabama, Williamson said following other states’ lead and removing restrictions and rely on just personal responsibility would send the wrong message.
“This all comes down to personal responsibility. We are not locking people up or fining people for not wearing masks, but I worry lifting the order now sends the message to be understood by people that we are out of the woods and everything is back to normal. If we do that, we will see another spike,” Williamson said.
Williamson and others are worried another spike could happen in April due to the UK variant.
Williamson understands people want to stop wearing masks, but he and others fear it could lead to more deaths if the order ends Friday.