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Runner Maggie Williams falling to the groundNewsChannel 21 / YouTube

BEND, Oregon, April 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has walked back its mask mandate for outdoor sports competitions after a high school track athlete, forced to wear a mask while running, collapsed just before crossing the finish line.

800 meter runner Maggie Williams, a student at Summit High School, collapsed just as she was approaching the finish line, crashing to the ground as she struggled to breathe through the cloth mask she was obliged to wear per state rules at the time.

Despite competing outdoors in the fresh air and engaging in strenuous activity, the OHA required athletes to wear face coverings. Williams explained she “was pushing so hard and everything went blurry and I just fell,” according to a Breitbart report. “But luckily I fell at the right spot and crossed the line with my head [when the time is taken],” she added, maintaining a sense of humor after the incident.

Williams’ coach, Dave Turnbull, expressed deep concerns with masking athletes at the time of Williams’ fall, which he said resulted from “complete oxygen debt.”

“This is what I am worried about, and I said this at the beginning of the season. You get a kid running the 800 with a mask on, it is actually dangerous. They don’t get the oxygen that they need. This rule needs to change.”

Turnbull subsequently petitioned the OHA to change their ruling and safeguard the health of his athletes, sending the department images of Williams “hitting the ground” because of the mask.

“I warned them of this in a meeting over a month ago. Respiration requirements in events from 400 [meters] to 3K are far too high for masks,” Turnbull explained. “Moreover, carbon dioxide isn’t fully removed from the mask upon inhalation. The very reason we wear the masks to protect others is now a liability for the athlete when they increase respiration to the levels these athletes need.”

Turnbull questioned the sources used by the OHA to construct their guidance, asking the department to “[l]ook at the science of COVID transmission outside. It has been non-existent. Why are track athletes still required to run in a mask? What metrics are you following?”

About a week later, the OHA announced that new guidelines “will allow people to take off face coverings when competing in non-contact sports outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others and the other virus protective protocols.” They added that masks will still be required during training and before and after competitions.

A report entitled “Mask Mandates Do Not Save Lives,” published by American Thinker in March, draws attention to the statistics of deaths reportedly caused by COVID-19 — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) data — and compares the deaths in U.S. states which have mask mandates with those that did not impose them.

Representing the figures as COVID-19 deaths per 10,000 people in each state, the average deaths for states with a mask mandate (40 states in total) was 13 deaths per 10,000 population. The states with no mask mandate (the remaining 10 states) averaged 12.6 deaths per 10,000 population. While people in the latter category were not required to don face coverings, they were free to do so.

Already, mask mandates can be seen to not only not provide any extra protection but, per the CDC’s own data, there is reason to believe that masks may pose their own health risk.

Compounding this concern are the data from states which imposed face mask rules earliest, under the impression that “a greater length of time under the rule of mask has been an effective way of assuring low death rates.”

The American Thinker reported that, on average, the ten earliest states to adopt masking rules registered a slightly higher number of deaths than the forty-state average, coming in at 13.3 deaths per 10,000 population. This is, again, compared to an average of 12.6 deaths per 10,000 population among the states which imposed no mask mandate, suggesting that face masks do not prevent deaths.

In a follow-up article, author Spike Hampson noted that seven more states decided to relax mask requirements towards the end of March. Data from March 24–31 shows that those 17 states without mask mandates vastly outperformed the 33 states with mandates, regarding transmission of the virus.

According to Hampson, the 33 pro-mask states recorded “21.0 daily new cases per 100,000 people,” whereas in the “17 mask voluntary states [there were] 14.2 daily new cases per 100,000 people.”