“It’s time to mask up.”
Yes, I know it sounds like a line from a cheesy, B-rated superhero movie, but in reality it is now a line that applies to our everyday life. We are no longer living in days in which we can ignore this mysterious virus circling the globe.
A few short months ago, I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine who lives in Columbus, Ohio. The topic of COVID-19 came up and both of us agreed we had seen so much coverage of the virus on the television screen, but neither of us knew anyone personally who had contracted and suffered from the disease.
That is no longer the case.
In our local schools, we have students on quarantine, my daughter included. Although, Tate County doesn’t have a hospital, the area hospitals our citizens frequent when ill are filling with COVID-19 positive patients. We are surrounded by counties that have made the Governor’s list of heightened risk of exposure.
The rumor mill is pulsing with the whose-who of our neighbors who might have the virus, and yet, we continue with life as usual. Wear a mask.
“It’s about to get bad.” Those were the words of my mother in a recent conversation. My mother is retired from the U.S. Navy. She’s a seasoned Registered Nurse and works in hospice in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She’s not easily rattled. She is very matter-of-fact and looks at the world with a view of solving a challenge with a cool head and precise movements.
“Steph, wear a mask. It’s the best thing to do,” she told me.
So I am passing on her words of wisdom now. Wear a mask.
I don’t say this lightly nor do I say it as a dire warning. It doesn’t have to be that extreme. We all have masks at this point. It’s not something to cause a big panic; we’re past that now. Just wear your mask.
What we are not past, is the fact this virus is still here and picking up momentum. If you are lucky enough to still be a person that COVID-19 hasn’t affected personally, count your blessings. There are few of you left. A recent poll conducted found that one in every three Americans personally knew someone who had tested positive. Wear a mask.
If you are of the opinion that it is optional and not required so you don’t want to do it. I completely understand you want to protect your rights and freedoms. Believe me. I hate doing things I don’t want to do, but if my freedom to make a choice would put someone’s life at risk, I’d personally choose to fall on the side preserving life. I’d wear the mask.
Look, to make it very simple, let me paint a mental picture.
My house does not have a sign posted in my kitchen stating “Don’t play in the kitchen while the stove is on.” I have a 6-year old and a 12-year old. Do I need to spell out to them in big letters that it isn’t a good idea to play around a hot stove because things can get out of hand and there is a heightened risk they could get hurt or start a fire? I mean maybe I’m mistaken, but I’d like to think my kids understand the risk because they have already learned a hot stove means burns or bodily harm without my explicit and direct communication to them explaining the danger.
Folks, haven’t we seen enough of this virus to understand the danger? Yes, we might fall into the category of not having much risk to ourselves. We might be a lucky one and only suffer from a headache, but would you risk your grandmother’s life? Your grandchild with a compromised immune system? Your neighbor with a history of bronchitis? Your favorite bank teller that knows what you want to do before you tell her and is suffering silently with a hidden disorder?
I’d like to think most of us understand at this point masks aren’t about our political stance or our freedoms, but about saving lives. They are really more like seatbelts at this point. We may think that we are the safest drivers out there, but buckling up saves lives. Its just a good idea to protect your life from the unexpected. It also sets the example to younger eyes that are watching and idolizing your every move. Buckle up to show them safe practices. And really, folks, while you’re at it, get your mask off of the rear-view mirror or out of your glove compartment put it on, if you’re going to be around people.
Don’t do it because you are required to do it. Don’t do it because someone told you to do it. Use that big wonderful thing set between your ears and do it because it helps tip the bar on the side of saving lives. Do it because you want to protect the vulnerable lives around us. Do it because its a small act with big impact. Wear your mask.