To Mask or Not to Mask…that seems to be the question.

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I would never have predicted  wearing a mask during a pandemic would become a controversy. But what was I thinking? This is the age of controversy and divisiveness.

Although we are all tired of the Covid-19 virus, it is not done with us, folks. The CDC recommends we all wear masks when out in public, and I find it disconcerting there are several individuals who chose not to do so. This indicates to me they are not buying the seriousness of the matter. Some of the reasons I have heard are: They believe the pandemic isn’t real, “a farce” as a shopper said in a local jewelry store where I was getting a watch battery replaced. (Note: he was the only individual not wearing a mask in the store.) I’ve heard people say it’s just the flu, only old people in nursings home die from it. Some don’t think the masks help, or they don’t like wearing one. Breathing through them does take a little getting used to and having to wear one for hours can cause chafing. Asthma sufferers may have difficulty breathing through a mask, but if they get the virus they can get a severe case. What a Catch-22.

Then there are these explanations for not wearing a mask. A young person told her aunt she believes you can get sick from wearing one because you breathe in germs and carbon dioxide.  I believe there’s a “coolness” factor wherein some don’t like “the look” or think it will make them look weak. I’ve also heard people say being required to wear a mask violates their rights. Never mind you can make other people sick if you are asymptomatic or symptom free in the early stages of infection. Do you feel your rights are being violated when you have to buckle your seatbelt or not use a hand-held phone while driving?

Whatever their reasons, they evidently haven’t seen the videos showing the particle spray from talking, shouting, coughing, and singing and how it is greatly reduced with masks. The reality is, unless you are wearing an N-95 mask which is made to protect the wearer,  you wear  a mask to PROTECT OTHERS, and it works only if EVERYONE DOES IT, coupled with social distancing. The reality is it’s not just old people who are at risk, several young people are also if they’ve had cancer,  have asthma, or compromised immune systems.  Young people have died with no underlying health issues which is scary. And with the surges in many states, the average age of infection is dropping. Why it’s deadly for some and asymptomatic for others is a puzzle for the epidemiologists at this point.

This Covid-19 pandemic has become politicized, and it’s disheartening to know that we as a society have become so polarized that even a public health crisis prompts people to take sides and advance conspiracy theories, so much so, that many don’t trust the advice of our health care professionals and public health officials.

That being said, I want to thank the businesses who have their employees wear masks and wipe down carts and counters. I feel safer and it makes me believe they care about their customers. If a business makes it optional for employees and shoppers, what does that tell you about the executives/owners/managers of that company?  It tells me not to  shop there unless I have no other choice. So, I’m doubly grateful for those employees and citizens who care enough about others to wear a mask.

My wish for you is to stay safe and, please,  help protect others and wear a mask in public. What have you got to lose? You could unknowingly save someone’s life. But then you’ll believe what you want to believe, and do what you want to do.



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