VIRGINIA BEACH, Va, (WAVY) — As the mask debate continues in our communities, one local lawmaker is calling out another on social media.
Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) posted a clip from this week’s Virginia Beach City Council meeting that is causing a bit of a stir.
The Democrat, who represents the 21st District, is accusing Republican Mayor Bobby Dyer of acting irresponsibly during a discussion about masks at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
He said, “I can tell you, masks really don’t give much protection.”
Those words from the mayor came at exactly the wrong time for Convirs-Fowler.
“Currently… right now… I am quarantined with my kids,” she said.
Convirs-Fowler’s mother, who is vaccinated, has a severe case of COVID-19.
“And now, we’ve got our leadership saying that masks aren’t that effective when the professionals in health care are saying masks are effective,” she said.
“Being a healthcare professional for four and a half decades — I kind of know what I’m doing,” Dyer told WAVY.
As a licensed physical therapist, the mayor told 10 On Your Side that he had annual training and certification on the infectious disease processes.
“I expressed my opinion on something that is based on experience, that is based on being in the health care profession for years and I get demonized,” Dyer said.
Acting Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Nancy Welch shared information with WAVY stating that masks, while not 100% effective, do offer some personal protection but are more effective at preventing community spread.
“We should all be encouraging people to wear masks,” Convirs-Fowler told us.
Ironically, both Convirs-Fowler and Dyer argued that as leaders it’s their job to set the example and that’s what they are doing.
“You know if I’m there and they say, ‘Bobby D had his shots why is he wearing a mask? Why should I get a shot then?'” he said.
Dyer doesn’t object to anyone wearing a mask but said if we want to see more shots in arms, don’t force the vaccinated to wear one.
“Do whatever it takes to make you feel safe, but by the same token, people have to see a ray of hope,” he said.
Most new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated.
The CDC currently recommends all nonvaccinated people wear masks and that fully vaccinated people wear them indoors while in public in high transmission areas.
A health department map shows Virginia Beach and most of the commonwealth is currently in the high transmission category.
Virginia Beach City Council opted to install plexiglass between them and continue to make masks optional.