“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Oh so much has happened since I wrote last week about wearing a mask to honor Jason Hargrove who gave his life serving others. His wife, Desha, read the post and said, “I’m sure JASON is smiling down so hard right now! His message has been heard all over the world and still needs to continue.”
She is so right. People need to keep hearing the messages. I stumbled upon this interview with Oprah Winfrey on NBC News Today and they mention Jason’s plea for folks to take this virus seriously. She also talks about people wearing masks.
Governmental Actions Around Wearing a Mask
As many of our states started re-opening, the flood gates were also opened for a lot of tea spilling around masks. You may have heard some of it:
- The Vice President being the only one at a medical facility not wearing a mask
- Kentucky’s U.S. Senator refusing to wear a mask
- The President of the U.S. saying he couldn’t look presidential wearing a mask. While the French President wore a mask that was a custom creation so he could continue looking presidential, leading by example
- The U.S. President’s Valet testing positive for COVID-19
- New York Governor Cuomo breaking it down saying, “Wearing a mask is a social responsibility…..It is not the greatest intrusion….Wear a MASK! It’s the smart and the right thing to do.”
What do you think political leaders should do regarding wearing masks?
Battles and Deaths Over Wearing a Mask
Then there were the battles about opening the beaches and citizen protests-carrying flags and signs- “give me liberty or give me COVID- 19.” Hopefully they won’t get the latter because COVID does not play! A store security guard was even killed for suggesting someone follow the rules of the state and a wear a mask. NO one should have to die by COVID-19 infection because people won’t wear a mask or abide by other recommended measures. Someone doing their job should not die because they make a reasonable request.
Why Wear Face Coverings/Masks?
There has been much discussion and debate about mask use in the COVID-19 crisis. That has led some to ask, why wear a mask? Many experts believe there are benefits to wearing a mask to reduce the spread of the virus. I agree.
Masks reduce the amount of virus that may be spewed out in the air, thus keeping your germs to yourself. This protects others from your respiratory droplets. As mentioned before you can’t tell by looking if someone has the virus. Masks serve as an automatic cover for coughs. I certainly have observed people in clinical and community settings just freely coughing and sneezing right into the air.
“I wear my mask all the time when I go out. I know that my mask protects you and your mask protects me. That is why I like to see other folks wearing their mask too.”
Community Benefits of Wearing Masks
Wearing a mask protects the community and shows them that you care. It is helping to keep people in our community alive.
Looking up and seeing other masked faces, reminds us that WE are not in this alone. It also reminds us that we are far from business as usual. Masks remind us to continue being vigilant. Do not under estimate the threat. Don’t let your guard down. Continue covering the face, practicing physical distancing, and good handwashing.
Wearing a mask honors front line workers like Jason, other essential workers, and medical personnel. I thought wearing a mask was a simple request to honor our frontline heroes, but I learned that things are never so simple.
Until superior testing, tracing and then isolation of those infected are readily available, we need to continue all measures that have potential to slow or stop this virus. We need to continue until the “fat lady sings!” Does ANYONE know when that will be?
COVID-19 Mask Ground Truthing Study
I was out of my safe space for the day. While taking my lunch break at the job, I was thirsting for some great iced tea. I stopped by a local convenience store and that led to the beginning of my informal observational study. The objective became to see just how many people were wearing masks out in public spaces (ground truthing). I subsequently read the 4.30.20 Gallup Poll mentioning that 75% of Americans reported wearing masks amid the COVID-19 crisis.
For this study, over this past week, I drove by and in some instances parked at random places. I tallied whether people were wearing masks or not. Quick phenotypic assessments (race/ethnicity by how they looked- no genetics here) were also made. The table below summarizes the locations and percentage of people wearing masks.
Percent Wearing a Mask
|Location||Total %||AA/ Black||White||Latinx||*Asian|
|Large Grocery Store||61%||67%||57%||46%||86%|
*Because there were very few Asians at any of these sites, I dropped by an Asian Mart and 40/40 shoppers wore a mask.
I offer no analysis or judgement. These are just the observations. What are your questions or comments?
Battling Against COVID-19, What can we Do?
What can we do to battle against COVID-19. First, Take care of yourself- eat well balanced meals, get adequate sleep, try to manage your stress, control your chronic diseases if you have any, and stay socially connected even as you physically distance. Then check on others to see if they are doing well with these things.
We should be unified in our approach to battling this virus. If you can’t or won’t wear a mask, then strongly consider these measures:
- stay at home as much as possible
- avoid large crowds
- stay 6 feet away from people
- cover your face when coughing or sneezing, or breathing heavily on a bike or jogging
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds, frequently
There are some medical conditions that prevent people from wearing face coverings. That is understandable. Otherwise, if you won’t wear a mask or do these other measures, know that you are not just potentially harming yourself. This battle isn’t just about you. Your lack of cooperation can affect others. We all need to adopt these common practices.
“ Everybody has to lookout for themselves AND their neighbors [regarding COVID-19].” Oprah Winfrey, NBC News Today Show, 4.14.20Tweet
Are YOU Ready for the Battle Call?
COVID-19 is a highly contagious and lethal virus. We’ve seen nothing like it in recent times. The COVID-19 crisis calls for us to unite in order to defeat this hardy foe. We must use all the weapons we have- staying home when possible, social distancing, handwashing, covering the face. Each of us individually must do everything we can. We have to put away our self-centered ways and do our part for the collective good of the community. If all of us don’t participate in the cause, then this virus will spread exponentially. Our unified actions today will lead to more tomorrows. Think about tomorrow today, while enjoying Al Jarreau.
Dr. King’s words are certainly applicable to this COVID-19 crisis, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” What do you plan to do for others in these challenging times?
Don’t forget to read about Jason in my last blog. Are you thumbs up or thumbs down on the mask issue?