If you cringe a bit when the topic of mask-wearing comes up, please relax those shoulders and bear with me, if only to be thoughtful about both sides of the debate.
First off, let’s put politics aside, no matter how impossible that may feel. I believe we can still do this.
Like your mother taught you, most people automatically attempt to cover their sneezes, Republican and Democrats alike. Whether in a tissue or on your shoulder, shirt, arm or hand, we do this to be polite and because it’s best. It’s a considerate health-conscious move.
With this novel (or new) coronavirus, COVID-19, even talking (more so, louder talking or singing) can be like a sneeze. Particles simply pass from one to another, so it’s sensical to cover our mouths.
With COVID-19 being passed even unknowingly, safety (for others and yourself) is most easily done with a mask. No, these harmful particles are not everywhere, all the time. And no, we don’t need to fear. But in order to eradicate it and truly move on with life freely, sooner than later, the virus needs to not have a host.
“This infringes on my rights,” you may think. But genuinely ask yourself what “rights” are being deeply damaged here? And do the possible benefits far outweigh the harm or even your pride…absolutely.
Consider also, in our society, we forgo certain “rights” because it’s not the best idea to say or do certain things. For example, we have the right to free speech, but it’s not wise to yell “‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” The original phrase coming from the Supreme Court in Schenck v. United States, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic…”
In a sense, we are all in a state of frustration, even panic at our current lot in life. At a minimum, no one likes masks. It’s not comfortable. There’s no use putting color on my lips and unused, perfectly good lipstick is wasting away. We are all sick and tired of this new normal.
But keep in mind, masks are also not more dangerous than the actual disease. We can take them off at home and when alone in the car. But we can’t take off a sickness at will.
Recently, my hard-working husband, who happens to be a doctor, shared with me about a close doctor friend who was just diagnosed with COVID-19, now, nearly 8 months into our shutdowns in March 2020. When people are tired of this thing not going away, tired of having life turned upside down in every way imaginable, tired of wearing masks, yes, people are still getting sick with symptoms that are much more unpleasant (with possibly long-term effects, even death) than the discomfort of wearing a mask. This is not fiction.
We had (still have) doctor friends from New York who were really being bashed around by this disease early on. Lots of tired nights, tears and even suicides were seen in the medical field. People we knew were hurting with a pain we couldn’t fathom. Many people couldn’t relate. Some called it a “hoax.” What an insult!
Unfortunately, this pain is spreading in pockets all around the country, popping in and out of communities like a thief.
Let’s not focus on where this came from. This is important, but in terms of facing this disease, blame is not helping anyone right now. Let’s put our God-given minds on what to do with it now that it’s here, has been here and will still be here as long as we let it, yes, even after a vaccine.
Remember, as long as the virus doesn’t have a host, it dies. Imagine: we all stay home for two weeks and let the virus die in our houses, not giving it a chance to hop around. It’s over.
Of course, this is unrealistic for various reasons, but a mask is a little like keeping that virus at home and letting it die with you.
What if every new person coming into the country is tested and masked (if possible, quarantined) so they don’t pass along the virus again? And it dies with them. This has worked successfully in free and democratic countries like South Korea and Taiwan. Again, putting other politics aside, we don’t have to agree with everything in these countries, but what’s good and working, we should borrow.
So help to kill COVID-19 and promote a freer and an even more thriving economy once again. We can step forward together, baby steps, unified in one small thing at a time. Wear a mask.