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We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The United States, with 4% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world’s coronavirus cases. Here in Lebanon County, we’re seeing new cases increase. Positive rates are going up. Hospitalizations have started to rise.

And yet Representative Diamond is still displaying wanton disregard for his constituents’ lives and their livelihoods. Earlier this week, on his official Facebook page, he posted an article that misrepresented a CDC study, saying it was scientific evidence that masks don’t work. To the contrary, the study actually indicated that closing or reducing capacity of bars/restaurants is one way to control the spread of the virus. From the study: “…going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity. Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.”

Earlier in the year, Representative Diamond posted a 2015 article by Dr. Raina McIntyre and colleagues, once again claiming that it condemned mask wearing. In actuality, Dr. McIntyre said her paper was arguing that it’s essential for healthcare workers to be provided with effective personal protective equipment (PPE). Furthermore, in an email correspondence, she wrote, “On community use of masks, I do believe in universal face mask use for COVID 19… The US of all countries should be able to scale up production of surgical or cloth masks (and give people jobs while doing so) and it is a travesty that they have not, and that they are auctioning off the medical stockpile to private companies.” I know because I asked her. Dr. McIntyre is an expert in this area, and we should listen to her and other experts.

There are two possible conclusions we can draw from Representative Diamond’s continued railing against wearing masks and providing safeguards to prevent community spread. The first is that he simply doesn’t understand science. The second is that he knows what the science actually says, but is arguing against it from a cynical political ideology. Either of these are dangerous.

Whichever is true, what Lebanon County needs right now are leaders who can understand the science, listen to the experts, and advocate for the wellbeing of our community.

Countries like New Zealand are enjoying the exact freedom Representative Diamond claims he’s advocating for. And it’s within our grasp. Individually, we need to wear a mask correctly, wash our hands, and watch our distance. As communities we need to conduct rapid-result testing, contact-tracing, and quarantining. This virus doesn’t search out Republicans or Democrats. If you’re human, you’re at risk.

We need leaders who will tell us the truth and work to keep our communities safe, rather than continue to argue against the very things that will help us get back to some semblance of normalcy. On November 3, please consider this when casting your vote. 


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