Her comments come one day after the Republican governor told the group of students, who were standing behind the podium where he was set to speak at the University of South Florida: “You do not have to wear those masks, I mean please take them off.”
“Honestly, it’s not doing anything, we’ve gotta stop with this Covid theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine. But this is ridiculous,” DeSantis had said on Wednesday. Some of the students took off their masks while others left them on.
Hillsborough County School District told CNN the students at the event were from Middleton High School. According to the CDC, Hillsborough County’s community spread of Covid-19 is high and wearing masks indoors is recommended.
Last summer, DeSantis signed an executive order barring schools from requiring students to wear masks, and last month, he said he favored the ability of parents to sue schools that bucked his ban on mask mandates.
And despite a raft of backlash to his Wednesday comments, DeSantis continued to rail against Covid-19 mitigation measures at a press conference in Panama City on Thursday.
“What we’ve seen, particularly over the last two years, has been a very politicized medical establishment and they kind of have certain views. A lot of times they’re informed by political ideology, unfortunately,” the governor claimed.
Although the CDC recently updated its masking guidance, masking is still considered a “critical public health tool,” according to the agency’s website.
At all levels, the CDC recommends people get vaccinated and boosted, and get tested if they have symptoms.
CNN’s Anokhi Saklecha contributed to this report.