Sen. Marco Rubio took to social media to speak out against mask mandates, saying they only create division and distract the conversation away from trying to get more people vaccinated.
"We don't need mask mandates," Rubio tweeted in part Wednesday, adding, " ... Nothing is stopping vaccinated people like me from CHOOSING to use one out of courtesy to others."
Rubio continued, "Mask mandates won’t solve the hospitalization surge ... And the division they create distract from focusing on the only thing that will: VACCINATIONS!"
In a video posted hours before, Rubio pointed out that the majority of people who are in the hospital fighting COVID-19 are not vaccinated, and those who are are testing positive but are vaccinated are not in the hospital.
"That's the facts. And you present that to people, and you talk to ppl as adults, as grown-ups," he said. "You present this information and you allow people in a free country to then make the best decision for themselves and for their families. And you know what, people are making that decision. You've seen the vaccination rate surge."
"But instead the CDC and a lot of other people spent the first few days here arguing about masks, 'who are we gonna strap masks on now? How are we gonna force masks on people?'" he continued.
In the video, Rubio emphasizes "we should be spending our time doing ... trying to get more people vaccinated."
"You're not gonna mask your way out of this pandemic, the answer here is vaccines," he concluded. "Get vaccinated, that’s the answer."
Earlier, the CDC said the need for returning to masks has become greater with the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, which has fueled a surge in cases in Florida. On Wednesday, more than 12,000 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, and nearly 2,500 of them were in ICU beds.