The numbers are daunting. More than two million cases of Covid-19 in the United States. One hundred twenty-three thousand people have died. Scary!
When you see numbers like those, wouldn't you want to take precautions to protect yourself and others? Wouldn't you want to do whatever is possible to keep yourself and others safe?
Those precautions are fairly simple:
Practice social distancing. Try to keep at least six feet away from people.
Wear a protective mask!
After spending the first months of the pandemic in the suburbs, I'm now back in the city. One of the first things I noticed was how many people were not wearing masks. I did a couple of unscientific counts and it looked like a 50-50 thing. It was somewhat shocking.
I understand not wanting to wear a mask. It's damn inconvenient. It's uncomfortable. It makes breathing harder. Donald Trump doesn't wear one...okay, that's a ridiculous reason for not wearing a mask...But if it would make a difference between your life and your death, wouldn't you disregard the above reasons to save your life?
So knowing all of this, I wanted to find out some real reasons people weren't wearing masks. It was time to take a walk on the wild side.
First up were two women in the mid-twenties. They were heading to a local coffee shop.
Me: Hi. Can I ask you a question about a story I'm writing? Why aren't your wearing a mask?
J: I wore a mask at first. But I did my own research and I think the numbers are overblown. I think the numbers are fake.
Me: You mean media fake news like Donald Trump would say?
J: No. I think there are things that are much more dangerous than coronavirus. We've lived through those, we'll live through this. Besides, the virus is killing people at risk. We're young and healthy. We can deal with it.
Next stop was the grocery store. As I walked through the parking lot, I saw an older woman heading towards the entrance. She wasn't wearing a mask.
Me: Hi. Can I ask you a question? Why aren't you wearing a mask?
L: I know I should be wearing one, but it makes it hard for me to breathe. I have to do a lot of walking and wearing the mask makes all of it harder.
Me: Do you mind if I ask your age? Also do you have any preexisting conditions?
L: I'm 71, young man (laughing)...and at my age...and probably yours, too...we all have preexisting conditions.
Me: (also laughing) You got that right, but aren't you worried about catching the virus?
L: Yes, I am....but I'm screwed either way...so I'm going for the easy breathing now. Hopefully it'll work out.
Well, I guess I got my answers. I suppose there are more reasons, both believable and unbelievable, but they'll wait for another day. We're still in the midst of a pandemic and you shouldn't spend too much time talking to strangers.....social distancing, right? But, here's what I would tell the next stranger who isn't wearing one....
PUT ON YOUR DAMN MASK! SAVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS!! SHEESH!!
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