Hands up! Drop the mask!

There are mandates, and then there are mandates.

Sheriff Billy Woods, from here on known as Dr. Billy Woods, got his mug splashed all over the national media this week after he issued a terse and, shall we say, defiant letter announcing that not only would he not require his 900 or so employees to wear face masks while on the job, he would forbid it. Going even further, the high sheriff also said anyone entering his offices – any of them – was also forbidden from wearing a mask. To make sure his edict was not misunderstood, every time Woods used the phrase “will not be worn” in reference to masks, he underlined it. Got it, Sheriff. Loud and clear.

What’s so funny about Dr. Woods’s national news-making letter is that in saying he wasn’t about to adhere to no stinkin’ mandate by the city, the doc/sheriff issued, well, a mandate. And he was anything but politic about it.

“… (M)y orders will be followed or my actions will be swift to address. Be safe!” he said in concluding his letter.

Now this rebellious, anti-mask streak is nothing new for Dr. Woods.

Three weeks ago he told a room full of doctors at a City Council meeting that there was no evidence whatsoever that masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Woods stuck by his claim in his letter this week, arguing (laughably, by the way) that, “We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t.”

I’m calling B.S., Dr. Woods.

I got a $100 bill that says you can’t find 700 medical professionals – like those who signed a letter to the Ocala City Council – who will say no one needs to wear a mask, that they do no good slowing the spread of COVID-19.

That Dr. Woods’s letter made virtually every national media outlet is a testament to how out of step Dr. Woods is with accepted medical thinking. Like the doctor said during the City Council meeting a few weeks back, “Next time you have surgery, remind me to tell your surgeon to not wear a mask.” Ouch.

Dr. Woods, unfortunately, doesn’t know better. He is just badly misinformed.

Ordering all masks off may have scored points with a small cadre of the community, but it’s the wrong message to send as Marion County faces a growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. And, it’s embarrassing.

This column is in reference to a letter written by Sheriff Billy Woods on Tuesday.  Click here https://bit.ly/2DY1E2Q to read the letter.

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