Who Was That Masked Man? or Why We Wear Masks in the Time of COVID-19

by Dr. Michael Obsatz

In these days of COVID-19, we are told to wear masks and engage in social distancing in public places by the Center for Disease Control.  This is not to protect us, but to protect others from anything we could spread.  We may have the virus and be asymptomatic.  Or, we could be carriers.

We don’t know.  Unless we are tested every day, we do not know if we could infect other people.  However, since tests are not always perfect, one could have the virus and still test negative.  In this time, anything is possible.

Why do some people refuse to wear masks?  They may not understand that wearing a mask is for the sake of others, not oneself.  Masks do not protect the wearer from contracting the disease. Some people may believe that they CAN’T infect others, or if they did, it doesn’t matter that much.  Wearing a mask is about caring for others’ well-being and good health.  It is a sign of caution, respect, compassion, and love for the community.

Diseases like COVID-19 spread in the air  They are caught easily by others.  Sneezing, spitting, even talking could send out harmful disease particles.

So, we can tell who is concerned about the health of the community and who is not by their “mask” behavior.  Some people don’t think they can get sick.  The reality is that we have close to 100,000 deaths so far in this country — almost 1,000 in Minnesota.  People of all ages have died.  No one is immune to it.  Some people thought children were not likely to contract the virus.  Now, we learn that many children are dying from it.

Social distancing is not easy for some people who live in crowded conditions.  The elderly, the poor, and racial minorities who are more likely forced into public contact suffer the most.  Staying six feet apart is a luxury.

My mask was hand-made by a relative.  It has a Little Red Riding Hood and the Fox print on it.  I have five other masks to wear in case this one needs washing.

We may have to sacrifice longer than we would like.  But, it is time to think about being more careful, rather than less careful.

© 2020 Dr. Michael Obsatz, all rights reserved
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Mount Rainier Washington State
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