Wearing masks in public
shows respect for others
As businesses and entertainment venues start to open up across the country, and we see COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths falling in some states and rising in others, the importance of social distancing and wearing masks has increasingly become important. I am not an epidemiologist but I am a physician, and I believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities when they tell us that these measures help to limit the spread of the virus that causes this deadly disease. And yet, with myriad excuses, many Americans refuse to wear masks, even when in “close encounters” with others, including the recent demonstrations (although, from the pictures, it does appear that most of these people were wearing masks). This even has led to violent confrontations. So why not wear a mask? Is it the inconvenience, the discomfort or just the feeling that it imposes on your freedom? It probably boils down to these reasons, plus a stubborn willingness to take the risk of getting sick. But that misses the point; wearing a mask is less about protecting yourself than about protecting others. And, unlike many other cultures and countries where mask-wearing is common and accepted, Americans who do not wear masks think they are saying, “I am not worried about me.” But what they really are showing is a lack of respect for others.