The buck doesn’t stop on the governor’s desk and politics won’t protect you from COVID-19.

Gov. Doug Ducey really made a non-decision Wednesday to require Arizona citizens to wear masks when they go out of the house. Instead he let local governments and mayors make the decision for him.

Ducey failed to require masks in the state for one reason — President Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t like people wearing masks and Ducey just doesn’t have the backbone to stand up against the president and run Arizona correctly through this crisis.

For some reason Republican leaders in Washington have made the whole mask wearing topic a political one. They seem to maintain if you wear a mask then you’re weak.

Wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus does not make you weak. You can’t beat the virus by being patriotic despite what the president might say. COVID-19 will not somehow skip over your household just because you are a Republican and infect you if you’re a Democrat.

Wearing a mask is a sign of respect for your neighbor as it prevents your germs from being passed to them. Likewise, if they wear a mask, you are less susceptible to germs they may be carrying.

One of the leading Republicans in Pinal County, Sheriff Mark Lamb, contracted COVID-19 and found that out this week as he attempted to enter the White House for a meeting with the president and failed a medical inspection.

COVID-19 doesn’t care who you are or where you’re going. If you play loosey-goosey with the rules and fail to wear a mask or maintain social distancing you can, and likely will, contract the virus.

Mr. Lamb found that out the hard way.

Lamb held a large re-election campaign event in San Tan Valley on last Saturday and he claimed that is likely where he contracted the virus. No one was wearing masks at the event and he openly put his arm around people and had pictures taken with them.

While Lamb could have contracted the virus at this event, it is far more likely that he had it before. It can take up to two weeks for the virus to appear. It is likely he spread the virus to others at the event.

What is really crazy about the campaign event is that Lamb is running unopposed and there is no reason that he needs to hold any public meeting without an opponent on the ballot.

“On Saturday, I held a campaign event, where it is likely I came into contact with an infected individual. On Tuesday, I was called to join the President at the White House. As is protocol, all visitors are screened for the virus. While still asymptomatic, I tested positive for the COVID-19. I will be self-quarantining for the next 14 days minimum,” Lamb wrote on Facebook.

I have many questions for the sheriff but he’s not talking.

I want to know how he got to Washington because he was likely carrying the virus at the time. Did he fly? What about the other people on that plane and at the airports he traveled through?

How many more cases has Lamb caused because he was negligent and not wearing a mask or socially distancing? How many people will he infect and ultimately kill because he thinks he is too tough to carry the virus?

I understand Lamb didn’t expose people intentionally but he in fact still exposed people due to his own negligence and lack of caring for other people.

Lamb, a Republican, is running unopposed for re-election, but he was mainly at Saturday’s campaign event to sell campaign merchandise, including autographed photographs of himself.

As Arizona is one of the nation’s hot spots for the virus now, thanks to Gov. Ducey’s lack of instituting protections for citizens, our state’s mayors and city councils must require all citizens to wear masks if they leave their homes.

We don’t have a second chance to stop the spread of this virus. I fear the wearing of masks now is our only hope to stop COVID-19. If we don’t do the right thing today, a statewide or even national lockdown will return to our lives. Do the right thing and wear a mask!

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Justice reporter Jim Headley can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.

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