Guest Editorial: Face Masks Make the Difference

Some folks think masks are some new method of taking away our liberty.  Others feel they are unhealthy in being a basket for our germs.  And then there are those who believe wearing a mask is a political statement.  All these are hogwash.


Aside from the CDC providing clear evidence that the wearing of masks indoors and when in close proximity to others lessens the spread and prevalence of Covid19 in our communities, wearing a mask, while inconvenient, is no more of a lessening of liberty than refraining from smoking while eating in a restaurant or speeding on a residential street. Covid19 is not like other viruses.  It is substantially more contagious than the viruses we sometimes suffer and live with during the winter.  The more important differences are that the routine virus has a vaccine and we have nothing to prevent Covid19 infections.  Another significant difference is that Covid19 hides its symptoms while festering with contagion in the carrier for sometimes 10 to 14 days while the normal virus displays its symptoms at the time of its contagion.  Sufferers of Covid19 do not always die.  They suffer in various manners and degrees.  Some suffer horribly and are incapacitated for long periods with lingering side effects.  Others need hospitalization, now with some expensive drugs offering solace, and deaths sometimes can be avoided.  It hits all ages but if the victim is frail with age or has compromised immunities or vitals, death rates are high.  The Coronavirus experience almost always is terrible.

Masks are not really to protect you.  They form part of the way to stop or lessen the ongoing epidemic.  It is ongoing.  If you do not believe it, get your head out of the sand and look at the Johns Hopkins web site reporting its daily spread.  Masks are important but your attitude of care for others and self preservation are more important.  This means staying distant from others as much as possible.  Washing your hands are important mainly because we all rub our eyes and faces. Masks do not help you if you touch stuff and rub your lips and eyes.  Those in the health care industry understand that the virus droplets are expelled in the thousands from coughs and even in lesser but still high amounts when shouting or speaking loud.  They wear face shields.  Many stores protect their employees with such shields.  Masks are to catch these droplets from the unsuspecting carrier of the virus unknowingly spreading his or her infected germs in a closed in area. 

We are a community.  There are certain norms we follow to be partners of our neighbors, one of which now is to have an attitude of self preservation and protection against unknowingly spreading our own germs.  The sun kills a lot of the germs.  We know that and keeping apart from others and out of the way at home or in a closed car help contain the spread.  It is not a detriment of our liberty if we decide to venture out of a fully free cocoon but distancing and wearing masks are a matter of decency in communal living.  Wear a mask, wash your hands often, and stay apart from others as much as you can and we all will be safer.

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