As a resident of Southern California, COVID-19 continues to be a pressing public health issue.
Nearly 3 months since the initial “Safer At Home” order was passed by Governor Newsom on Friday, April 20, the timeline to a return to “normal” is still in question.
Something that has been a cause of debate is the mandatory mask order passed by the Newsom administration on Thursday, June 18.
The mandate explicitly “exempts children 2 years old and younger, and people with a medical, mental health or developmental disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering” in addition to restaurant customers when they are eating and drinking…residents engaged in outdoor recreation as long as they are able to keep distance from others” (Willon, P., Fry, H., and Money, L., Los Angeles Times, 2020). The mandate does not require face masks for the “hearing impaired, or those communicating with them, or for workers whose health may be put at risk or who may nee to temporarily remove a mask to perform a task or service” (Willon, P., Fry, H., and Money, L., Los Angeles Times, 2020).
For those not listed above, masks are required in most public places.
While the efficacy of face masks have been debated, I personally view masks as a social courtesy.
I sympathize with those who feel uncomfortable, or anxious, from wearing a mask.
However, if wearing a mask could prevent our germs from spreading to even 1 person, wearing them is worthwhile.
Even if we don’t personally feel threatened by the spread of the COVID-19 virus (which we really should because case numbers and deaths continue to be on the rise) we must understand that many people a) are immunocompromised b) live with people who are immunocompromised or c) have or live with small children who have underdeveloped immune systems.
For these reasons, we must wear masks as a social courtesy.
When I say “social courtesy”, it is referring to how wearing a mask is a public display of politeness and respect towards other people, their health, and the health of their loved ones.
I understand that many people may feel like “sheep” to the government by having their autonomy threatened by this mandatory mask order, but it is important to remember the big picture.
If all goes as planned, in 1-2 years the COVID-19 virus will be better controlled.
If we can all play our part in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus and ensuring the health and safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and others…then we can see improvements.
Even if you don’t personally know anyone who has had or died from COVID-19, there are millions of people who do.
Please remember that people have lost their children, spouses, parents, grand parents, great grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues, etc. because of the COVID-19 virus.
It may feel very far away to you. But for some, it has changed their lives and worlds forever.
So please, wear a mask.
It’s much more than a mask.