"I think the Heartland is just getting ready to know this virus," said Dr. Stephen Sample from Memorial Hospital this week on MSNBC with Brian Williams. "We are opening up. Everybody has been screaming for us to open up and the state is trying to open, while the rest of us, other than our colleagues in New York, are seeing cases spike, actually. They're starting to take an upward trajectory."
The local doctor was also asked about whether people in this area were following recommendations from the CDC to wear a face mask when in public.
"About two weeks ago it was about half. I was out today and it was about 10 percent and, I've been thinking a lot about this, today in particular. I've been thinking about, not just my community, but the community of the United States of America and I've been extremely frustrated. We have a shared purpose. We have a common enemy. In our history, when we have had a common enemy in the past, we have risen, together as a people."
"And", Sample continues, "now, for some reason, over the last couple of weeks, asking people to just wear a mask in public has become a step too far. Now it's communism. It's fascism or part of a secret cabal to take down the president. We just want to keep grandma well."
The Jasper doctor says he spends a lot of his time debunking conspiracy theories on social media, echoing experts from across the area who are begging locals to only trust reputable sources of information on the virus.