Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Twitter: ‘Stop with the mask fetish’

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio releases a video on Twitter about the vaccinated, the unvaccinated, COVID-19, and mask wearing. (WPLG)

MIAMI, Fla. – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has a message or two about the latest surge in Florida of new COVID-19 cases.

“Stop with the mask fetish,” the senator wrote on Twitter Wednesday. And his other message? “We aren’t going to mask our way out of this.” The final message behind his 1½ minute video? “The answer here is vaccines.”

Rubio began the video with presenting what he said are the facts about COVID-19.

“The overwhelming majority of the people who are in the hospital are not vaccinated. The overwhelming majority of people that are testing positive and are vaccinated are not going to the hospital. So, what does common sense tell you? It tells you if you are vaccinated, you are probably not going to get COVID, but if you do, you are not going to get very sick.”

For those that aren’t vaccinated, Rubio said that the unvaccinated are “probably going to get COVID eventually” and that those that do get COVID may experience “nothing or it might be really bad and you might end up in the hospital.”

“That’s the facts,” Rubio said. “And you present that to people and you talk to people as adults. As grown ups . . . you allow people in a free country to make the best decision for themselves and for their family.”

Doctors in South Florida agree the data shows the vaccines have helped to reduce patients’ symptoms and the majority of the COVID patients who are dying are unvaccinated.

[RELATED: ‘Get vaccinated’: Hospital leaders stress in roundtable with DeSantis]

Rubio also chided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying they have spent too much time debating ” ‘Who are we going to strap masks on now? How are we going to force masks on people?’ "

His written message on Twitter is: “If you want to wear a mask as a courtesy to those around you or because you are in no mood to get even a little sick, go ahead. If you want your kids to mask in school, that’s your right.”

The recommendation by the CDC on mask wearing for those fully vaccinated is because of evidence that suggests that they can become infected with the Delta variant, and while they may or may not become ill, they can spread the virus to others — that masks “work best when everyone wears one, and when you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself.”

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert with Florida International University, said the science on the effectiveness of face masks as the Delta variant spreads is unequivocal. Marty said the new viral loads are higher with the Delta variant than last year’s version of the SARS 2 virus. “With this version we are seeing very high viral loads in vaccinated people, so there is a possibility that unwittingly a vaccinated person could have enough virus and share it with an unvaccinated individual. That’s a serious consideration,” she said.

Rubio called on leaders to spend time trying to get more people to get vaccinated by “showing them the facts and the data” and to stop coercing, threatening, calling them names, and to stop “making people angry at them.”

The senator’s message ended with a plea for people to get vaccinated.

“As I said you’re not going to mask your way out of this pandemic. The answer here is vaccines. Get vaccinated. That’s the answer.”

But Marty believes that masks are another layer of getting the spread of the virus under control.

“Masks are really a trivial discomfort compared to the value that they bring in terms of reducing transmission both from vaccinated and unvaccinated persons who may be carrying virus,” she said.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.