The St. Louis County health director is begging unvaccinated residents of his county to “get over yourself” and “do the responsible and common sense” in the wake of a COVID-19 surge in the state.
dr. Faisal Khan appeared on ABC news on Wednesday to talk about the removal of the city’s mask mandate by the city council, and a viral video of a crowd applauding the decision.
Khan said the reversal, coupled with recently updated guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is causing confusion in the state.
The decision comes as Missouri handles a statewide increase in cases of nearly 80 percent in two weeks, and cases in St. Louis County double from 14 days ago.
The CDC also revised its guidelines earlier this week, advising areas of high or substantial transmission to bring back indoor mask mandates.
dr. Faisal Khan (pictured) told ABC News that unvaccinated people should ‘do the responsible, common sense’ and get the injections
“I certainly respect differing opinions, there’s no question about that, but the greater good and the collective good is more important than individual nuances of liberty and liberty right now,” Khan told ABC News.
“As a nation of individualists, we are seeing the results of that across the country. There is currently more death and misery caused by attitudes than by anything else. That’s really sad and should prompt all of us to think about what we’re doing.
“Vaccines are available today. [They] are safe and effective people should listen to public messages. Vaccinate and continue to wear masks, because that is a situation we are facing’
About 56 percent of the county’s one million residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, vaccine progress has slowed in recent months, causing the virus to make a comeback.
After an outbreak began in southwestern Missouri, the virus quickly enveloped the rest of the state, including the county.
In the past two weeks, cases have doubled from 143 new cases a day on July 14 to 291 on July 28 in the province.
The number of cases in St. Louis County has more than doubled in the past two weeks. County health officials have instituted a mask mandate to fight rising cases, though the mandate has since been reversed
In the midst of the wave, St. Louis County decided to bring back its mask mandate.
Their decision was met with outrage from many, including the state attorney general.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against St. Louis, hoping to revoke the mandate.
Schmitt, who is a US Senate candidate, has previously filed a botched lawsuit against the government of China over the pandemic.
“This continued oversight of government is unacceptable and unconstitutional, especially given a widely available vaccine,” he said in a press release.
Under pressure from the state leadership and residents, the provincial council decided on Tuesday by 5-2 votes to withdraw the mandate itself.
The council meeting was attended by dozens of residents, who broke out in cheers after the lifting of the mandate.
A video of the party went viral on social media.
Khan, however, mocked the decision, saying it would cause confusion.
His agency still recommends that people wear masks in indoor public settings to protect themselves from the virus.
“Our public health message based on that mask mandate still stands,” Khan said.
“We stand behind the recommendations we have made and the mandate to encourage people, regardless of their vaccination status, to remain masked in indoor environments.”
The revised CDC guidelines would apply to St. Louis County, along with all but one of the counties in the state, as Missouri as a whole has become a COVID hotspot.
Cases in the state are up 77 percent in the past two weeks, from 1,373 on July 12 to 2,442 on July 26.
Missouri cases are up 77 percent in the past two weeks, doubling since last month amid a surge in Delta variant
Nearly all counties in Missouri, including St. Louis County, are covered by the new CDC recommendations to wear a mask in indoor public places
The state outbreak of the Delta variant — a highly contagious strain that originated in South Asia — began late last month and cases have increased by 250 percent since then.
Khan still says the health ministry will push for masks to be mandatory in schools this fall.
The CDC also recommended this week that masks be mandatory for all students and staff in K-12 schools in high-transmission areas.
The situation in Missouri reflects the COVID situation across the country, as cases are increasing due to the Delta variant in places with low vaccination coverage.
In the past two weeks, the number of cases in the US has doubled, from 30,370 on July 14 to 66,294 on July 28 – an increase of 118 percent.
Public health officials continue to urge Americans to get vaccinated — only 56 percent of Americans have received at least one shot — and some COVID mandates are even returning to protect against the virus amid another wave of summer.