A Louisiana state lawmaker posted a video comparing Shreveport's mask mandate to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.
Shreveport's mayor recently announced an executive order mandating all residents wear masks when they're inside local businesses.
The mayor said an "alarming" spike in recent coronavirus cases caused by community spread prompted the order.
Public health experts have recommended that people wear face coverings in public spaces, to help prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that transmit the coronavirus.
A Louisiana state lawmaker likened mask mandates to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, and filmed himself destroying blue surgical masks with a blowtorch and a chainsaw.
Republican State Rep. Danny McCormick posted a Facebook video on Tuesday decrying an executive order from Shreveport's mayor mandating that all residents wear face coverings inside local businesses. The mandate was set to take effect Wednesday.
"Masks aren't bad. Mask mandates are. As many of you know, the city of Shreveport has announced an emergency order making masks mandatory. The constitution is being shredded before our very eyes," McCormick said in the video.
The video included several scenes of McCormick destroying masks, crushing one with what appeared to be a wooden staff, and lifting a chainsaw to another that hung from a garage ceiling.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said at a press conference on July 6 that the area has seen an "alarming" uptick in coronavirus cases, which was not simply caused by increased testing, and called for more urgent measures.
"Hospitalizations do not lie, and our area is seeing an alarming rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations," he said.
The Shreveport area, which on June 12 reported just 129 COVID-19 hospitalizations, reported 221 hospitalizations just 25 days later. Perkins added that the area saw 11 coronavirus-related deaths between June 30 and July 6.
"These increases are obviously related to community spread, and this is cause for us to act," Perkins said.
In addition to mandating that residents wear masks inside businesses, Perkins' executive order also requires that businesses place large signs on their premises stating that masks are mandatory.
Scientists and public health experts have strongly recommended people wear face masks or coverings in public settings, or in spaces where social distancing is difficult. The masks help block the spread of respiratory droplets caused when people cough, speak, or sneeze.
But in McCormick's video, he compared the order to the Holocaust.
"People who don't wear a mask will be soon painted as the enemy — just as they did the Jews in Nazi Germany. Now is the time to push back before it's too late," he said.
He continued: "This is about liberty. Your body is your private property. If the government has the power to force you to wear a mask, they can force you to stick a needle in your arm against your will. They could put a microchip in you, they could even make you take the mark. After all, it's for the 'greater good.'"
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