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‘Wear a mask – the alternative sucks’ — Len Robbins column 7-8-2020

I once had someone tell me: “I believe in God because the alternative sucks.”

This, of course, wasn’t an example of faith. It was an example of logic. If you have two choices, and the end result of one is horrible, and the end result of the other could be very good, with a small sacrifice, you choose the positive result. It’s basic common sense.

We face these kinds of choices all the time, whether we recognize it or not. And we’re facing one now with this global pandemic. 

This past week, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, went on a “Wear a Mask” tour of the state, encouraging people to wear masks whenever in public. A troubling surge in COVID-19 cases in Georgia, especially among young people, has governmental officials across the state concerned. City of Savannah officials mandated that masks be worn in public last week. Other cities are certain to follow suit.

Kemp said that if people don’t start wearing masks in public, having a college football season will be “a tall task.”

“But if we all hunker down right now, and dig in the next two or three weeks, we can get this turned in the right direction,” he added.

Not just college football – as important as it is in the South – is in peril, though. So is the opening of schools, currently planned in most places for August – a month away.

If this virus isn’t under control soon, rural children may have issues getting an education this year due to transportation or online access issues.  

There are scientific models showing that universal use of masks in public settings (80-to-95 percent) over the next month can save lives and put us back to something close to “normal” by October. We published a story in our newspaper last week where local health officials said basically the same thing – if everyone wears masks in public, new cases of COVID-19 will swoon.

So, why, when I go to the grocery store, am I one of a few wearing a mask?  Am I the only one that wants to see college football in 2020? 

There simply isn’t a legitimate excuse for not wearing one.

The “Freedom!” excuse is ridiculous and hollow. 

We have speed limits, laws, regulations, codes, etc., much more limiting than wearing a mask for 10 minutes when you go to the supermarket. 

The “Everybody is going to get it anyway” excuse doesn’t cut it either.

This virus isn’t the regular flu. In some, there are no symptoms. They are carriers who can give it to other people with underlying health conditions (like asthma). In those cases, this Coronavirus can be lethal. If “everybody gets it,” we’re going to see upwards of 400,000 people in the U.S. die and this virus will terrorize us into 2021.

Well, what about the guy on the Internet who says masks don’t work? 

Again, logic. If we can possibly neuter a global pandemic by wearing a piece of cloth over our face a few moments each day, why wouldn’t we? 

Many are trying to convince people to wear masks by saying that they are wearing masks to “protect others, not themselves.” This obviously isn’t working. I think we should tell people to wear a mask to protect themselves. 

If logic and empathy won’t work, I have a feeling self-preservation will. 

What is it that you care about? 

The aforementioned college football season? Your child going to an actual school this year? How about high school football? High school softball? Youth football or cheerleading? Church – would you like to go to church? How about any kind of public venture between August-December?  It’s unlikely any of  these activities are going to happen unless we change our collective behavior. 

The United States is a distant third in population among countries of the world. We are the wealthiest country on Earth, with the most resources and talent. Yet we have the most cases and deaths from COVID-19 among countries in the world – twice as many as second-place Brazil. 

We’re losing to this virus – failing miserably. All of us need to commit to following directions from health experts, quit giving attention to absurd online conspiracy theories, get over ourselves, and wear a mask or facial covering while in public.   

The alternative sucks.

© Len Robbins 2020

1 Comment

  1. Judi Daugharty on July 10, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Thanks, Len. You covered all the bases. With school scheduled to begin, and cases rising in Clinch County, I think our only hope is collective mask wearing. Prayers that we’ll see more of that in our community.

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