Wear A Mask

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 Dear Editor:

The president of the United States tweeted a picture of himself wearing a face mask, suggesting that “patriotic” Americans like himself should follow suit. Later he said, in no uncertain terms, that the COVID-19 outbreak will probably “get worse before it gets better.” So, to everyone still refusing to wear a mask: you’re finally out of excuses.

Wear a mask.

As of this writing, nearly 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Cases are on the rise nationwide. These are facts – facts which, after months of ignoring medical professionals and health experts, even the president has been forced to admit. It’s long past time for everyone else to do the same.

Going to the grocery store? Wear a mask. Nobody wants to catch a deadly virus while standing at the deli counter.

Going to the beach? I get it, I don’t want to wear a mask at the beach either. But wear a mask – just until you find your spot, and then feel free to take it off, as long as you keep your distance from others. It’s a reasonable compromise.

Going absolutely anywhere that can be classified as a public space, including walking down the sidewalk? Wear a mask. I bike roughly twelve miles every day, the length of the boardwalk and back, wearing my mask. Not for one block have I felt like my personal freedoms were being infringed upon, nor that my brain was being deprived of necessary oxygen.

Do you support essential workers and law enforcement? Do you even have a sign in front of your house proclaiming this? Wear a mask. It’s truly the least you can do to support the people who are literally putting their lives and the lives of their families on the line for you each and every day. I’m fairly certain they would appreciate this minimal gesture a lot more than a nightly performative serenade.

Do you have a mouth and a nose? You need to cover them both with your mask. Otherwise, it’s not working.

This disease and its effects are not a hoax; they are very real. Yes, most people who are infected with COVID-19 recover. But there’s also a non-zero chance that while contagious, they will infect someone else who is not so lucky. Furthermore, many people who have recovered are reporting lingering respiratory and neurological problems. It’s just not worth the risk, particularly when the way we beat “the beast” is so easy and painless: just wear a mask.

This is not about your rights or your freedom. If you don’t want to wear your seatbelt, fine. If you want to go in the ocean when the lifeguards are off duty, swim away. But when it comes to a highly contagious virus that is sweeping the globe, you don’t get to be so cavalier, because it’s not just about you anymore. You have the absolute right and freedom to go on making bad faith arguments about how your personal freedom outweighs the public good in some other arena, but not here and not now. Time’s up. Wear a mask.

David Tatasciore

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