OPINION

Roger Marshall is spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of masks. He should do better for Kansans.

The Editorial Advisory Board
Sen. Roger Marshall has given opinions about the effectiveness of masks that are dangerous to his fellow Kansans.

It seems everyone is suddenly an epidemiologist these days. Especially folks who really have no business being one. 

Our political leaders certainly seem to fancy themselves as experts on the pandemic. We’re here to remind you they are not. Public health leaders found in places like the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and Kansas Department of Health and Environment have more credibility. So do your county health departments and hospital medical directors.

Sen. Roger Marshall is among those who fancy themselves epidemiologists. He waded into those waters recently with statements made about mask mandates.

"I'm against mandates," Marshall said last week during an interview with Newsmax. "I mean, really, no one has convinced me that masks really work, especially for people that have already had the vaccine or natural immunity. The masks might give a little bit of protection to my parents, but I just think that we're kidding ourselves if we think kids wearing masks helps. It probably even makes it worse."

This is a dangerous statement. And while he is a doctor, we should take his thoughts with a grain of salt. After all, as The Capital-Journal’s Jason Tidd reports, Marshall is an obstetrician and gynecologist but not a pediatrician nor an epidemiologist.

In fact, many pediatricians and epidemiologists don't share his opinion on the efficacy of masks.

Elected officials, like Marshall, need to remember many Kansans look to them for information. In many ways, they set the moral tone for our state. We need them to be moral compasses in times like these, not bastions of hearsay and half-baked opinions. They are doing us no good by casting doubt on public health policy and advice from the experts.

Simply put, they are leading us astray and putting Kansans in the potential risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus.

Tidd also reported the Kansas chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has also recommended that school districts mandate masks for all students, staff and visitors. Frankly in our book, their opinion carries more weight, but we know Marshall and others like him have larger microphones. So we are here to say Marshall is failing Kansas in this regard. Elected leaders who do the same are no better. 

To Marshall and other leaders who are skeptical about masks: Think about the consequences of your bluster. Do better. People’s lives and health are at stake.