Colorado is currently seeing a serious spike in COVID-19 cases, making it one of the most infected states in the nation, and according to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, the experts do not know why.
But there is one thing that he is certain of: He will not be issuing a state mask mandate any time soon, KCNC-TV reported.
Why? Well, Polis suggested Friday that critics of his decision look to the Centennial State's neighbor to the south.
New Mexico is currently experiencing a COVID surge similar to Colorado's. The Land of Enchantment has also had a mask mandate since August.
What's going on?
Gov. Polis faced questions Friday about mitigation efforts, including mask mandates, and told reporters that though he continues to encourage people to wear masks, he does not plan to institute a mask mandate.
"Scientists simply don't know exactly why our region has a spike," Polis said, but he recognized, based on New Mexico's experience, that a mask mandate is not the answer.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Holds COVID-19 Press Briefing youtu.be
"Our neighboring state of New Mexico has had a mask-wearing requirement really for the last couple months statewide, and seems to be at about the same place we are with regard to infections rates," the governor noted, adding, "They've basically tracked with us over the last week or two."
"It's easy to say wearing a mask will protect you because absolutely it delays your chance of getting COVID at any given point in time," Polis continued. "It's a little harder to figure out what a mask order does in different areas and what impact that might have."
Polis' statements about Colorado's and New Mexico's case rates reflect the current publicly available data regarding state-by-state cases.
According to the New York Times' COVID tracking data on Monday, New Mexico currently has approximately 64 cases per 100,000 people and Colorado has 55 (after experiencing a drop in cases over the weekend).
Both states' hospitalizations have also been trending upward at similar paces.
The neighboring states also have similar vaccination rates, with 62.8% of New Mexicans fully vaccinated and 62.3% of Coloradans fully vaxxed, according the Times' data.