On April 4, Gov. Mike DeWine urged all Ohioans to start wearing protective masks when they have to go to stores or businesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also switched its recommendation and said masks were needed for all. This was a change from earlier urgings that said only those affected (or exposed) to the coronavirus should wear masks in public. It was a real mental leap for many – a tangible, physical reminder that we all could get sick. A cloth branding of susceptibility. We all started going back to those videos on how to make homemade masks. Suddenly, bandannas were sold out in stores and online. Just another stressor in an already stressful life.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton stressed the importance of wearing masks. “It’s not 100%, but it is about 80% effective, and that 80% like our Swiss cheese layers of everything that we’re doing to stay home adds up collectively to slowing down the spread of this virus,” she said.
"In many cultures around the world, wearing a mask is just part of the culture — it is a socially accepted act of kindness," DeWine is quoted as saying. "Wearing a mask should not scare people. It is a good thing. It is a considerate thing. It is a courageous thing."
The resistance seen on TV and in social media was surprising. Why, we wondered, were people so hostile to protecting themselves and others from the spread of a disease that robs its victims of oxygen? That starves their lungs, their organs, their brain? That ultimately kills?
It turns out, people viewed it as the ultimate taking away of freedom. Coupled with stay-at-home orders, it seemed to be the final straw. The protests started, including people blocking ambulances, nurses and doctors from getting into hospitals. They scream and shout. They insult. People with guns slung across their shoulders were ushered into the Kentucky statehouse, while those holding umbrellas were told that the umbrellas “could be possible weapons” and to leave them in the lobby (not fake news. It’s on video). They carry “My body, my choice” signs.
My. My. My.
If you cough or sneeze without covering your mouth, the water particles can travel as much as 12 feet away, with most in the 6- to 8-foot range. By wearing a mask, when you cough you are containing the particles, keeping them up close and personal.
Don’t be selfish. Be a member of the human race. This is a test. And many are failing the final exam.