A Republican lawmaker argued to let businesses ignore mask mandates to stem COVID-19 because they were not used to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Joseph Chaplik, a first-term Republican legislator from Scottsdale, Arizona, said his bill would allow businesses to ignore local or state mask mandates. He argued that consumers would then have the option of deciding whether or not to do businesses there.
“It’s about the individual rights of these business owners as Americans,” Chaplik argued.
Randall Friese, a Tucson Democrat representative and who is a physician, said masks are part of the “very basic, important tools” – along with hand-washing and social distancing – to curb the spread.
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets in the air, and countless governments worldwide have recommended the use of masks to stop the spread of the virus. This is in addition to washing hands after coming into contact with anything that might carry residual respiratory droplets including other people, grocery items or plastic containers.
HIV is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, normally through sex or sharing needles. Condoms have been recommended for decades to help protect against infection. The Center for Disease Control has confirmed that HIV is not transmitted through saliva, tears, sweat or through the air.
However, Chaplik argued mask mandates were an overreaction and that society has managed to survive other viral outbreaks without masks. He specifically cited the HIV/AIDS crisis “that was going to wipe our global destruction of human bodies with AIDS“.
“We heard about that in the 80s,” Chaplik said. “Yet no masks were required.”
Nearly 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Arizona, according to the news website Tucson. The New York Times, which has been tracking the spread of COVID in the US, reported that 524,652 Americans have died because of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
The measure was approved 31-28 on Wednesday (3 March), along party lines. It now goes to the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Wayne Schutsky, managing editor for The Scottsdale Progress, wrote that Chaplik’s theory was the “best argument for comprehensive sex ed yet”.