Wearing a mask is your patriotic duty

Parent Category: Editorials Written by Rob Viehman Hits: 1359

    Throughout the history of our country people have proudly stepped up when called into service during times of crisis. At no time was that more evident than during World War II, when millions served in our military forces abroad and millions more went to factories at home in support of our great nation. We are at war again, this time with an invisible enemy, and it’s time we all did our patriotic duty and put on a mask when we venture out into public to not only save lives, but also restore the health and economic viability of the nation.

    The sacrifices we all made when the economy shut down earlier this year have nearly been wiped away by the continued increase in COVID-19 cases. Emergency rooms in several states are at full capacity, places like Florida and Texas have moved to rescind some of their economic reopening plans, and there are lines for coronavirus testing that go on for blocks. Our daily infection numbers have reached all-time highs. We must all take action to stop it.
    The simplest and easiest thing we can all do it put on masks when we are in public. We must do it to protect the health of others—not just our own. And most importantly, our national and local leaders must begin setting the example for all to follow.
    While we see people wearing masks when we go grocery shopping, step into the Post Office, or are out doing other business, it is simply not enough to control the virus. The evidence is clear that if we would all wear masks, COVID-19 can come under control. They are doing it in other countries with great success.
    It’s been more than a little disheartening lately to see several public events—most notably graduations—where virtually no one was wearing a mask and there was little to no social distancing. Our schools’ officials, from board members and administrators to teachers and other staff members, need to be setting an example, both at school activities and when they are in public by themselves. All our other elected officials need to do the same!
    All we need to do is look at the Great Circle campus in St. James to know that COVID-19 is still in our community. More than 25 people are currently sick due to an outbreak there and one has been hospitalized and put on ventilator. This disease is not going away anytime soon.
    It was refreshing Monday to see a post from Cuba Athletic Director Ryan Bobbitt, who shared a graphic on Twitter about how masks reduce the chances of getting COVID-19, while noting that requirements to wear masks (which we don’t have in Missouri) do not infringe on your rights. His post noted that if everyone wears a mask, the chances of a sick person passing on the disease is just 1.5 percent. If a sick person is not wearing a mask, a healthy person wearing one has a 70 percent chance of getting the disease. And if a sick person wears a mask, a healthy person only has a five percent chance of getting sick if they are not wearing a mask. The science is in and the best thing we can all do is wear a mask.
    And remember, we’re talking about just wearing a mask in public, while you are around other people. For most of us, that will mean a very limited time we have to wear a mask. If we can put our shirts and shoes on to go into a store, if we can wear our seat belt when we drive, surely, we can put on a mask in order to protect the health of our fellow citizens.
    The Fourth of July is Saturday. During this time you should be thinking about the sacrifices our Founding Fathers made for our country. They literally risked their lives and livelihoods for the freedoms we far too often take for granted today. Each man who signed the Declaration of Independence would have been executed as traitors had we not gained our independence from England.
    If they can risk all that in the name of patriotism, then we can all put on a mask to do the same. Be a patriot! Wear a mask in public!