Skeptics, sit up and take notice. On Wednesday, Dr. Lee Norman with the Kansas State Department of Health announced in counties where there is a mask mandate, the number of new cases of COVID-19 are showing a steep decline. Requiring masks be worn in public spaces is bringing down the count for the state as a whole.
We’ve heard it before, and it’s worth repeating. The novel coronavirus doesn’t care what your politics are. It also doesn’t care if you’re not worried or scared of catching it. If you breathe, you can catch it, and if you catch it, you can pass it on to other breathers. Also, wearing a mask does not guarantee you won’t catch it, but it sure does appear to put the odds more in your favor. It’s a really good tool we can access right now, with economic uncertainty looming. Keeping our economy open and keeping people working benefits everyone.
Even in places where confirmed cases are few, it’s not unreasonable to take precautions. It took months before cases started to climb in rural areas of this country, but now it is the rural areas that are causing increasing concern. Until there’s a definite way to stop the spread, it’s reasonable to assume it’s only a matter of time for our less affected counties if measures aren’t taken now to defend against invasion.
We each have to take responsibility for what we can to keep our country on track. While Congress wrestles with stimulus packages to keep our economy going, we can slap on a mask and do our best to make it less necessary. Already, we’ve taken out a massive loan on our future, and that’s on top of the already massive amount of debt we were suffering with even when the economy was doing “great.”
Fighting COVID-19 really is like a war. Think about it. Wearing a mask (if you can) when we’re around other breathers may just be the most patriotic thing we can do, akin to victory gardens and scrap metal drives. Not wearing a mask when around other breathers (provided we do not have a health issue that prevents us from wearing one) is akin to the harassment some of our veteran soldiers were forced to endure decades ago when returning home from a controversial war.
Appropriate mask wearing provides us a chance to go about our (socially distanced) business, to work together and to keep our spirits up. Perhaps it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable, but not as much as ration books and blackouts, according to those who lived through those times.
Our front-line defenders are working to keep us safe and develop new tools to defeat the enemy. They could surely use a boost of positive energy from the people they are sacrificing their time, their energy and even their own health for. To paraphrase a WWII propaganda poster we found, let’s “stop this monster that stops at nothing! Mask to the limit! This is your war!”
— Veronica Coons