#NCGovDebate: Dan “Masks Do Not Work” Forest on COVID

Oct 14, 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
CONTACT: Liz Doherty

#NCGovDebate: Dan “Masks Do Not Work” Forest on COVID

Dangerous lies. Putting people in harm’s way. Pretending the pandemic doesn’t exist.

Get the facts →

RALEIGH During tonight’s gubernatorial debate, Dan Forest once again downplayed the severity of coronavirus and further demonstrated he is far too dangerous to be governor.

TIMELINE (March-Present):

  • Right off the bat, Forest decided to play politics instead of focusing on the health and safety of North Carolinians. Back in March, he criticized Governor Cooper’s decision to close restaurants and bars for in-person dining. [News and Observer, 3/18/2020]
  • In April, Forest claimed more people have died from the flu than from COVID-19. Politifact gave this claim a “False” rating.
  • Also in April, the founder of extremist group ReOpen NC, known for lighting masks on fire in cast-iron skillets, said they were “taking guidance from” Forest.
  • On May 1st, Forest claimed Governor Cooper had “no moral, ethical or rational justification” for extending the state’s stay at home order.
  • On May 12th, Forest claimed “there is absolutely no proof” that a lockdown actually prevents COVID-19 deaths.
  • On May 26th, Forest claimed “the curve has always been flat in our state.”
  • On June 5th, Forest claimed “other states opened bars, gyms, and other businesses weeks ago with no negative impact on public health.”
  • On June 29th, in a press conference, Forest falsely claimed that there haven’t been serious COVID outbreaks in K-12 schools.
  • On July 1st, Forest sued the Governor over his executive orders to protect North Carolinians from the virus and to help control its spread. In August, Forest dropped the lawsuit.
  • On July 8th, Politifact gave a “false” rating to Forest’s reckless claim “masks do not work with viruses.” 
  • On July 13th, Forest said on Fox News “[The] curve has been flat all along in North Carolina, we’ve never had anything but a flat curve.”
  • On July 24th, Forest questioned DHHS guidelines to safely reopen schools during a State Board of Education meeting and then failed to vote on adopting the requirements.
  • On August 1st, Forest held an in-person rally and said it is his goal to “shake as many hands as we can” with plans to continue in-person fundraising. 
  • On August 15th, Forest held five in-person events, three indoors, in five different counties on the same day.
  • On September 14th, Forest earned a “Mostly False” rating from Politifact about his repeated claim that “kids are 17 times more likely to have ill effects from the seasonal flu than they are from the coronavirus.”
  • On September 16th, Forest called to reopen schools immediately with no safety precautions and lift the mask mandate. 
  • When Forest was asked if kids or teachers should wear masks in schools, Forest replied, “I don’t think so, no, I don’t think there’s any science that backs that up.” 
  • During the pandemic, Forest has held at least 50 in-person campaign events with no masks or social distancing. Forest has disregarded public health advice.


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