Social Distancing Week 14…Wear The Damn Mask!

Friday June 19, 2020…12:54pm

14 weeks since we first closed ranks.

I’ve been noticing a common theme in many of the posts in my Twitter and Facebook feeds….Masks. How can something so small, be such a divisive object? People are either total believers in at least the possibility of mask wearing to slow the spread of coronavirus or completely against wearing them. There does not seem to be a middle ground

For the record….I am totally pro mask wearing. Also for the record….if you are still refusing to wear a mask (unless you have an actual health reason not to), I am completely judging your decision as selfish and shortsighted.

Where we live in Los Angeles County, masks are required for pretty much everything outside the home other than exercise. Until yesterday, that was a recommendation from the State, but several local and county governments had decided not to follow that advice. I knew this was the case, but had not experienced it in person until this past weekend.

On Sunday, we ventured outside of our local area for the first time in almost 4 months. Since we had been diligent about staying mostly isolated, always wear masks and observe distancing when we are out in public; we decided it would be safe to visit my parents in their backyard. We brought food to barbecue, but realized after we arrived that we forgot the veggie burger for my daughter at home. My daughter and I made a quick trip to the grocery store near my parent’s house. My parents live in Riverside County – one of the places where the county government had decided not to enforce mask wearing. As my daughter and I walked through the store, I counted only 4 people other than us and the store employees wearing masks. After months of only seeing people in public with masks on, this was surreal to say the least.

What about this is complicated? Love thy neighbor. Wear the damn mask. Save some lives. The pervasive selfishness of people who insist masks are government overstepping is pushing me over the edge.

The “good news” is Governor Newsom announced yesterday that counties and local governments can no longer opt out of mask enforcement. All of those people who live near my parents and were walking around the store where my mother shops without masks last weekend, can’t do that any longer. I feel better knowing the spaces my mother frequents outside of her home will now be safer and healthier. But it makes me completely bonkers to know that a fairly large percentage of people were unwilling to wear masks for the benefit of the greater good.

There is a lack of empathy in society as a whole that is reinforced when government leaders (at all levels) refuse to heed the advice that wearing masks slows the spread of the virus. There is a pervasive “me and mine first” attitude that seems to be keeping many people from understanding that community health requires communal action.

I know that masks are not full proof method for limiting contagion, but something is better than nothing. I also know that wearing a mask is kind of annoying. They feel weird and are a bit of an annoyance, but a small personal annoyance in exchange for possibly saving lives is truly a small annoyance.

There is not a single person wearing a mask because they “like” wearing a mask. People are wearing the masks to help protect themselves and to help protect other people. I wear a mask because it shows that I respect the value of every person I encounter in the world, and I hope that same respect can be afforded to me and to the people I love. Mask wearing will not “cure” COVID-19, but it will slow the spread. Wearing a mask in public is an act of respect and selflessness. Wearing the mask is a personal act for the benefit of the community. Wearing the mask is how we can return to doing life together in the safest way possible until there is a vaccine for this monstrous virus.

Wear the damn mask. Please. And thank you.

Be well my friends.

My public service announcement. #WearTheDamnMask

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