Today is May 16th, 2020. The world has been struggling with the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 for the past 4 or 5 months. I, along with many others, initially thought that it wouldn’t really be any worse than the flu.
Experience to date has now shown that COVID is more contagious, and its effects more insidious, than the flu. There is no vaccine yet, and no scientific evidence yet that those who have had COVID are immune from getting it again.
In order to protect against seriously ill COVID patient overwhelming the health systems or nations around the world, many nations have issued “lockdown” orders, banning all but essential travel and commerce, and wreaking havoc on the economy of every nation affected.
The purpose of this post is simple: to convince as many people as possible in Arizona, USA (where I live) and throughout the world, to wear cloth masks when in public, so that we stop the coronavirus dead in its tracks and can safely reopen our economies.
“There are numerous studies that suggest if 80% of people wear a mask in public, then COVID-19 transmission could be halted. Until a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19 is discovered, cloth face masks might be the most important tool we currently have to fight the pandemic.” (Jeremy Howard, “Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus – the science is simple and I’m one of 100 experts urging governors to require public mask-wearing”, https://theconversation.com/masks-help-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-the-science-is-simple-and-im-one-of-100-experts-urging-governors-to-require-public-mask-wearing-138507)
Let me repeat that, in plain English: According to scientists, if 80% of people would wear masks in public, COVID-19 transmission could be halted.
Wearing masks is such a simple, inexpensive, non-disruptive way to try to stop the virus that we should do it even if we don’t think it will work.
That’s why I wear a mask in public. I don’t do it for me, I do it to stop the unseen transmission of an unseen deadly disease that is wrecking lives and wrecking our economy. If you believe in science, it is the single most effective way to save our economy. If you believe in God, it is the single most effective way to show that you love your neighbor as yourself.
You might be thinking: “Masks have not been proven effective at preventing me from getting COVID-19” If so, you’re confusing the two reasons to wear masks. The article The Real Reason to Wear a Mask from the Atlantic was key to me realizing I had fallen prey to the temptation to confuse two separate issues. Issue 1: Will a mask protect the wearer? Issue 2: Will a mask protect those around the wearer from having virus-containing droplets emitted by the wearer?
It was important to research #1 as quickly as possible to help first responders and health workers. Unfortunately, #1 got confused with #2 and we are missing out on the easiest, cheapest, most effective way to open our economies safely and quickly.
For example, in Hong Kong (9.3 million residents, based on my Google search), everyone wore masks, and they didn’t shut down their businesses, not even their schools, and according to https://ncov2019.live/, as of today, May 16, 2020, they have had fewer than 1100 active cases, and only 4 deaths!
The analogy I like to give is as follows: every one of us has a gun (our mouth) constantly firing bullets (expelling droplets every time we breathe, speak, cough, sing) that may or may not be blanks, with no way to know if they ARE blanks, with two main ways to prevent our bullets hitting and possibly killing others: 1. Shut down the economy and everyone stay in their homes, or 2. Everyone wear masks.
Please wear a mask in public, at least until we have a vaccine, and/or proven herd immunity. End of lecture.