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Idaho lawmaker cites damage to 'even our souls' for bill to end face mask orders

Rep. Karey Hanks said she has "done some research" and said face masks can cause injuries to "even our souls."

BOISE, Idaho — It's five words that many have likely heard their children or someone arguing in social media comments say; "I have done some research."

That's also what Representative Karey Hanks (R- St. Anthony) said on Tuesday while speaking in support of a bill that would ban any sort of face mask mandate issued by local governments in Idaho.

Republican Gov. Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but nine counties and 10 cities have such orders in place.  

"So we live in a republic and we the people should have a voice and a choice about our own health," the first-term representative said. "I have done some research and would like to share with you the physical and emotional and even mental injuries to our bodies and possibly even our souls as healthy individuals are required to wear face masks." 

Rep. Hanks defended her bill by saying she had done some research and claimed that people forgot other safety precautions when wearing a face mask, like physical distancing and washing hands.

As far as mental and emotional injuries caused by wearing a face mask, many people can certainly understand the anxiety of wearing one. After all, people are wearing them to avoid getting sick or others sick. 

For the physical injuries, maybe Rep. Hanks stumbled upon verified information from the Mayo Clinic while she was researching, which states that wearing a face mask for any period of time won't make someone sick.

Face masks have been used by healthcare providers for hours on end and have so for years.

For the damage to "our souls," there's no good way to measure that. Maybe the grief and anxiety of getting loved ones sick with COVID-19 could be the best barometer to measure it.

Officials report that the coronavirus has infected more than 170,000 Idaho residents and killed nearly 1,900.

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