It has become a hot button topic recently with several people proclaiming that they have a right not to wear a mask and that they simply aren’t going to do it.
Here are the reasons why I try to wear a mask when I go out in public settings, particularly large or crowded public settings.
First, I would rather not get this virus, which can be particularly deadly and problematic for the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.
While I am definitely not in the category of “elderly” quite yet, I am 49 and hope to get there one day. (Hey, getting older beats the alternative…LOL.) I also have minor blood pressure issues and have been diagnosed with diabetes, which could cause complications if I got the virus.
The second and perhaps most important reason why I try to wear a mask most of the time in public is that I don’t want to get this virus and then unknowingly pass it along to somebody else, like my dad, who has had a few relatively minor heart issues in recent years, or my 80-something year old mother-in-law, who had a stroke a couple of years ago, or my wife’s very good friend, who has a severely compromised immune system.
I also don’t want to get this virus and unknowingly pass it along to some kid, who has a compromised immune system, or the parent on some kid with a compromised immune system.
The Centers for Disease Control notes on its website that cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people, who may have the virus and do not know it, from transmitting it to others, which is a key component in this that I think many people overlook.
I have seen numerous Facebook posts from people complaining that you could have a false positive if tested. What is more likely is that some people are testing positive and are asymptomatic or not showing symptoms from the virus. This is part of the reason COVID-19 has spread so quickly across the world.
The third reason why I wear a mask is I don’t want to see another shutdown due to a second spike from COVID-19, which would further devastate the economy. Last Thursday’s April unemployment numbers show that statewide there was a 16.1 percent unemployment rate, and Whitley County’s unemployment numbers weren’t much better at 15.3 percent. Laurel County had a 17.6 percent April unemployment rate, and Knox County had a 17.9 percent April unemployment rate.
Another shutdown would absolutely devastate the economy.
Individually there isn’t much we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, but there are a couple of things.
The first is to social distance whenever possible and try and avoid large crowds if you can. The second is to wear cloth masks when out in public.
Will wearing a mask dramatically reduce your risk of getting COVID-19? I don’t think there are any definitive statistics that say it will, but common sense tells you that it will cut the risk some. In addition, it is something that individually we can do to help do our part. Also, as my dear old dad would say about eating chicken soup while you have a cold, “it may not help, but it can’t hurt.”
To those, who are refusing to wear a mask largely because they “have a right not to,” I would say this.
Yes, you have the right not to wear a mask. You also have the right to paint your chest in team colors and sit outside at a football game for hours in freezing cold weather without a coat on. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should utilize that right.
In addition, I would also point out that you have the right to try and do what little you can to help society and your fellow man.
It’s up to you to choose which rights you utilize.