On Masks

Today, we celebrate our freedom from tyranny and the establishment of a nation that has symbolized values the world has developed around. Today, we are also faced with an existential threat in the shape of this deadly virus. The consensus of scientists, based on solid research, have determined that masks and isolation decrease the reach of this pathogen. Yet, many among us use the pretext of “personal freedom”, to not only avoid  masks, but also make it a mission to rub it in others’ faces why they won’t. 

Public health is about keeping the nation safe. About keeping our freedom intact. About making sure that our values: LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (in that order) are kept whole. It is virtually impossible to always be socially separated enough in all situations. Even so, 6 feet is just a suggestion with regards to the distance a droplet spreads. People with larger vital capacities or people breathing heavy following exertion as well as people with a greater burden of infection are more likely to go beyond this. In particular, people jogging, biking or exercising. Masks, when combined with attempts to isolate, are an excellent tool at limiting the risk of droplet-based spread of infection. 

The other problem is economic. Thanks to the fiscal implosion of our lives, few want to admit to being sick. Survival needs food and shelter. Noone wants to stay home in these times, and lose whatever livelihood they have – in addition to being sick. The power of wishful thinking often overcomes the early stages of the disease. And so, millions of infected individuals are out there, wittingly or unwittingly, spreading this malady. 

Masks, when combined with isolation (where feasible), have been shown to decrease the risk of infection. Furthermore, as has been shown by physicians, surgeons, dentists, construction workers, HVAC specialists, and just about anyone that works in dusty environment, masks of all kinds are safe.

Just because they may be uncomfortable, is not a valid reason to put the safety of our neighbor, our communities, our economy and our nation at risk. IF someone threatened these, would we not all patriotically rise as one, to face this challenge by enrolling in the military, buying war bonds, flying the flag, saluting our veterans, and, ultimately be willing to die to keep our nation afloat? Would we not oppose those who abandoned the national cause in this time of need? 

And yet, this is not about encouraging hate or revulsion. This is about educating and informing people who are not on board to bring them on board. It is not about proving a point. It is about ALL of us, winning. As a team. As a Nation. From the President on down, every aspect of federal, state and local government has endorsed the use of masks and the fact that this is a war-like emergency. 

I love the idea of America, because it prizes individual liberty and freedom. Wearing a mask will help keep that ideal alive. When this infection goes away, America wins. 

Wear a mask, save a life.