State Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, argues in his Aug. 29 letter to the editor that mask mandates and bar closures are not responsible for the fall in state COVID-19 cases and that “any policy enacted at the peak of an epidemic will be followed by decreasing case counts.” The governor could have mandated “tinfoil hats,” says Nelson, and cases would have gone down.

Not sure where to start with this twisted logic. The indisputable facts: Wearing masks protects the wearer and those nearby. Gatherings of people who drink at a bar or do anything in close proximity without masks results in COVID-19 increases. Conversely, avoiding those gatherings and wearing masks decreases cases.

What doesn’t Nelson understand? He argues against closing kindergartens — as if schools are on another planet, populated by immune children who exist without contact with parents, grandparents, school staff, teachers and others susceptible to the pandemic. Moreover, children are not immune.

And as to his assertion that the state is providing doomsday statistics, facts again speak for themselves: roughly 150,000 Louisiana cases, roughly 5,000 deaths. We can argue about whether that’s doomsday, but this much should be clear: Nelson’s approach will get us there quicker.


retired editor