A very corny but fitting title: To Mask or Not to Mask
With so much talk about people wearing masks, here are my thoughts on the subject. This pandemic has caused a huge temporary lifestyle change for us. I am going to use California as the example since I live here.
As of today, only .08% of the state of California population has tested positive. This is only people who HAVE been tested. The rest of us in the 99.92% category may or may not know anyone who has been affected by the virus and should count ourselves as blessed as we have not had to worry about it. Because there are those that have had a reason to worry.
Within the 99.92% of us, there are the asymptomatic that may have the disease and can potentially spread it before they have any symptoms, much like how the flu spreads. The main way the virus is spread is through the air when in close proximity through coughing, sneezing, or even breathing in enclosed spaces. True experience: I have gotten the flu from my son, just by riding in the same car with him and breathing the same air. It is also possible that the virus might live on all kinds of surfaces and paper products for days after exposure unless properly sanitized.
The infected might touch things that you touch. Common things that might be shared are doors and door handles of all kinds, light switches, faucet and toilet handles, shopping carts, steering wheels and radio buttons of shared vehicles, shared phones, keyboards, or remote controls, gas pumps, buttons of all kinds, touch screens, shared cooking utensils or writing utensils, scissors, or other office supplies and machinery, products on store shelves, the shelves themselves, public surfaces of all kinds like bar tops, countertops, and desks. It’s possible that it might also spread and pass through handling paper products like transferring paperwork or cash.
You might forget to wash your hands after touching one of these items before eating a snack, rubbing your eyes, scratching your face, or picking your teeth. It’s generally a good idea to avoid touching the face anyways.
However when I think about it, I might start feeling an itch, like I do now. It’s just like what’s happening today, the more I know I shouldn’t do something, the more I feel an urge to do it. Like those who don’t wear masks in public. It is part of our human nature to want to defy the rules set on us, to escape from our cells, to let our will control us, but it may not be what is best for us. Unfortunately, practicing self-control is not a priority for people who prefer to let their desires control them.
Of the .08% of the California population that has tested positive, only 2.34% of those were fatal... so far. There are still 265K people out there (that we know of) with the disease that can succumb to it... or spread it further. There was recently a surge of increase in cases after reopening business that sometimes have crowds (like bars) and close proximity (like hair stylists). This has been the reason the governor has ordered them to be closed again.
He did not order this because he does not want us to go and have fun or limit our freedoms, but for our own good. A parent does not prohibit a toddler to drive the family car because they don’t want them to have fun, but for their own safety. There is no handle on the virus just yet, no immunization being distributed just yet. I know it’s difficult that our lives have been forced to change. Besides from self-control, there is another difficult human skill that we need to practice… patience. Just wait child, until you are tall enough and mature enough, and then you will be taught to drive the family car.
Immunizations for COVID-19 are in the works, I’m sure all the brightest scientists and doctors throughout the world are working hard on creating one. See more info here about the process of developing a vaccine: https://www.webmd.com/lung/covid-19-vaccine#1
Now thinking about this whole situation and how it might affect me if it hits close to home.
Young people with no pre-existing health conditions possibly feel that they don’t care if they catch the virus because the virus affects older people more than younger people. I personally don’t really care if I get sick, whether or not I overcome it, I have had a full life and don’t want to grow too old that I can’t take care of myself, so if I die, I die.
What young people who don't care need to realize is COVID-19 has killed some people that had no pre-existing health conditions. It’s not impossible for you to die from it no matter your age or health. This virus affects the ability for the body to breathe and if your body goes into respiratory arrest, which means you can’t breathe, you can die. And there are so many complications that can arise upon having pulmonary (lung) complications. Look it up! One of these possible complications can be cardiovascular, which is why some people of COVID-19 had died of heart attacks or strokes without having any previous cardiovascular conditions. Other possible complications might be gastrointestinal, renal (kidney problems), infection, complications related to ventilation equipment, and nutritional deficiencies. Once one system is compromised, it makes it easier for another system to be compromised as all our vital organs have a function and work together to keep us alive.
So, what I do care about is possibly spreading the disease to other members of the household, which include my husband who has diabetes, and his mother who has it too and just last year suffered from a stroke. I don’t like to see my teenaged son feeling unwell either, so I do not want him to get it. No true mother likes to see their children suffering. The person at highest risk would be my mother-in-law, so if I were to bring the virus home and the resulting consequences would to be her death, I would blame myself for the rest of my life for killing my husband’s mother. Who knows what that would do to our relationship? The guilt I feel in itself might be our undoing.
So young people who don’t care about getting sick… What if you accidentally bring the virus home? You may not know that you are infected for a while. Perhaps you are asymptomatic and your body successfully fights the virus off without a problem arising. You can still easily pass it to others, through all the shared household surfaces, through the shared indoor air, and you might not even know it until your mother or father is gravely sick. Do you want to be the reason one of your parents, or both, die? You can pass it to your boyfriend or girlfriend, who then goes to visit their grandmother who then dies as a result. Has anyone you know recently had a baby? What if the baby you come into contact with has an underlying health condition that has not yet been discovered and you unintentionally pass the virus to them and the baby dies? Anyone you know might have an undiscovered underlying health condition that can potentially risk their lives if they come in contact with COVID-19. Do you want any of these things hanging over you for the rest of your life because you didn’t care about getting sick?
About the excuse that some people make about masks making them sick, if wearing a mask makes you feel unwell, then don’t leave to go in public places to pick up items. There are several delivery services that can leave your stuff at your doorstep if you are that unwell by wearing a mask. Not wearing a mask makes it more likely for you to get sick as this is a respiratory disease that can is contracted by breathing air. You have to breathe when you go into public places, so wear a mask so you do not get COVID-19 and pass it along to someone else.
There may be cases when you leave the house that you can take off your mask, like when in your car by yourself or only other members of your household, like when you are far enough from other people that you won’t be breathing the same air. That seems just fine to me. If I am alone in the office, I take my mask off because wearing the mask with my computer glasses on fogs up my glasses. If someone approaches me, I back away out of respect, or grab my mask which is kept right in front of me, to put it on.
But if you are to weigh the pros and cons between feeling “uncomfortable” with a mask or being the reason that someone you know has died, what is really worse? I choose to mask when possible, just until we have a vaccine, which may be awhile. The rules set for social distancing and masking in public are only temporary and for the safety you any the ones you love.