Wear a mask… you could save a life.
This seems simple enough, doesn’t it? And the fact that many cities now require you to do it in order to go about business as usual—whether you’re visiting stores or restaurants or using the airlines again—really shouldn’t be a problem at all.
So tell me… why are some people finding it to be so hard? Because as a doctor living in the epicenter of this country’s COVID-19 crisis, the logic here escapes me entirely.
Chaos reigns supreme
I’m about to get on my soapbox here. And yes, I know I may be coming off a bit strong.
But it needs to be said: Cheering for first responders and other essential workers—whether in healthcare or otherwise—doesn’t do a lick of good if you’re not doing your part to keep them safe by wearing a mask in public.
I’m pretty sure I speak for most doctors, at least, when I say that—while we appreciate your thanks and applause—what we really need from you is leadership. The kind that usually comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). (Yet another reason why leaving the WHO could prove to be dangerous.)
Now, you know I’ll be the first to criticize any major medical organization if I take issue with the rationale behind their recommendations. But let me state emphatically: This is not one of those cases.
Some may argue that not paying attention to these agencies is a good thing. But however imperfect, they have some of the best minds in the world working to keep us safe right now.
I may not always agree with the CDC or the WHO—but they have their place. And for the first time in history, the U.S. has thrown up its hands, and decided to ignore their advice—in the midst of a global pandemic!
But rest assured, there will be some pretty ugly ramifications. For one, this vacuum in leadership will be filled—only now, it’ll be the 24/7 news cycle that tells us how we should be thinking and acting.
And that, folks, truly saddens me. Because this particular brand of bedlam is truly dangerous.
I don’t need to point out how deeply divided the United States remains over the issue of “re-opening.” It wasn’t that long ago that armed demonstrators stormed the Michigan legislature in an effort to intimidate. And similar protests popped up all across the country.
Now, every state is opening on their own timeline—with some facing a fresh wave of infections as a result.
It is complete and utter chaos. And I must ask: Is that the legacy you want to leave your children and grandchildren? That when the going gets tough, the U.S. puts its head in the sand, and pretends like everything is fine?
With freedom comes responsibility
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: We are dealing with a respiratory virus that spreads through droplets in the air, just like every other respiratory virus. And how do you suppose you might stop viruses that are transmitted that way?
That’s right—let’s say it all together now: You wear a mask!
Not to protect yourself from others, mind you—but to protect others from you. Because as I’ve explained here before, you don’t need to have symptoms to spread COVID-19.
So if you think that not wearing a mask is a harmless form of personal protest—because the President doesn’t wear one, and the Vice President often doesn’t either—think again. Reports suggest that the virus is rampant in the White House, and that a number of people on the presidential campaign have tested positive.
So, just because they don’t wear a mask or seem to practice any social distancing behaviors, doesn’t make them right. It makes them selfish, pure and simple.
With liberties come responsibilities, and they need to be taken seriously. What if this flouting of the rules overwhelms the health care system again and YOU—or a loved one—gets sick? Then what happens?
Will there be room for in intensive care? Will you persevere?
These aren’t questions anyone should have to consider. Yet not wearing a mask puts you and everyone else at these very risks. Does anyone really want that? So why not just wear a mask… and get on with our lives?
If you choose not to, go ahead and sign away your rights to healthcare with a waiver, just like at all those rallies I’m hearing about. (Ok, maybe that’s harsh. But at the end of the day, this is America—and you are free to protest, to prioritize, and to choose.)
However, if you wind up getting sick because you chose not to follow basic safety precautions, then you should at least have the wherewithal to take full responsibility for the consequences.
And you should also understand that these consequences could include death—if not your own, very possibly someone else’s.
So you know what? I don’t care on what side of the political divide you stand. No one—not even the president of this country—should be without a mask out in public right now.
It is completely unacceptable behavior in the middle of a very real pandemic. And all it does is ruin it for the rest of us who actually care about protecting our fellow Americans while we try to get back to something resembling normalcy again.
Believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses, too: “I can’t breathe.” “It’s too hot.” “I can’t exercise this way.” And they all have one very simple, very safe solution…
P.S. For additional ways to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your fellow citizens, I encourage you to check out my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity. In it, I outline all of my top immune health recommendations. For more information, click here now!
“If You Refuse to Distance, You Should Bypass Care if You Get Ill.” Medscape Medical News, 06/16/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/931629)