Idaho columnist offers intriguing theories for the 'anti-mask mandate mania' from Republicans
Donald Trump removes his coronavirus mask before giving a White House campaign address. AFP.

Masks that cover the mouth and nose have proven to be one of the most effective ways of containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the politicization of the issue continues to be a major Republican concern.

"Idaho Senate Republicans are setting up their agenda for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. As reported in the Post Register, one of their top priorities is to 'pursue measures in January to limit the governor’s emergency powers.' The immediate reason for this, of course, is Gov. Little’s anti-coronavirus measures," columnist Mike Murphy wrote in the Idaho State Journal.

"Concerns apparently include the governor’s stay-home order last spring and his allowing public health districts to require masks in public, both of which the public largely ignored since the orders lacked enforcement," he noted. "The governor is still reluctant to issue a statewide mask mandate which, for some reason, is a real political bugaboo."

He explained the politics of the issue in Idaho.

"The anti-mask mandate mania is perplexing. For some reason, wearing a mask to ward off the virus just seems to drive certain people freakin’ crazy. I mean, you can be having a nice, calm conversation about the weather with a person, then innocently mention the word ‘mask,’ and they suddenly go berserk and start waving 'Give me Liberty or Give me Death' signs," he explained.

He tried to understand the origins of the position.

"This mask phobia Idahoans are suffering must be the result of some mass hysteria experienced during childhood, perhaps triggered by a frightening Halloween prank. Similar to the fear of clowns some people have," he suggested.

Read the full column.