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Published July 7, 2020


Wearing a mask helps all of us

Virus threat low in countries where wearing mask is routine

By John Toth / The Bulletin

A few weeks ago an older man got out of his truck and headed for the convenience store. I was already half-way there. I had a facemask on.

He stopped and looked at me, went back to his truck, got out his facemask and put it on.

That was the exception, not the rule. In most stores, I have been in the minority. Wearing a facemask, it appears, has not been all that popular around Brazoria County.

I didn’t always wear one before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued his statewide mandatory mask order, like when I went to places that I knew were not crowded, and there was plenty of room for social distancing. Shopping in a store was not one of these. The mask went on automatically and stayed on.

Why? I am right on the borderline agewise, where it is strongly recommended that I wear one. I didn’t do it to make a statement. I really don’t want to or need to make one. Until we found out more about COVID-19, and became better at handling it or even got a vaccine, I wasn’t going to take any chances.

Wearing a mask, or not, has become a political marker. When you see it on me, please disregard that. COVID-19 exists and is spreading. Hospitals are packed with pandemic victims. I don’t want to be one of them. There is no guarantee that I won’t be, but from what I have seen, heard and read, my chances are better with a mask than without.

There is another reason I don’t mind wearing it. The mask hides facial expressions. If someone jumps in front of me in the supermarket, they’re not going to see what I really think.

I also like the anonymity the mask provides. I never thought that I’d be going to a bank wearing a mask, although the last time I went inside a bank, I was the only one with a mask on.

But it’s not total anonymity. An acquaintance recently recognized me, anyway, on a day when I was already running behind. I had a Bulletin in my hand, so that was sort of a dead giveaway.

In Asian countries, wearing a facemask is not that unusual. When people feel sick, they put one on to protect those around them. It seems to be working for the common cold and also for COVID-19.

South Korea had 276 deaths as of mid-June. Japan had 920 deaths. Taiwan has reported 7 deaths, and professional baseball there is under way. Hong Kong has had 4 deaths. New Zealand, which is not in Asia, has had 22 deaths, and no new cases since February.

These countries are doing a lot of things right, one of them being that the people wear masks. It’s not a big deal.

It appears to be a big deal in the U.S.A. We have had more than 130,000 deaths. The pandemic does not seem to be slowing much, if any at all. In many states, it is growing and claiming many more victims daily.

I don’t want to be one of those victims.

I hope that the gentleman I saw getting out of his truck and then going back to get his mask keeps on wearing it. I hope I set a good example for him, and that it makes a difference in the long run. And, I hope that he stays healthy.

So, grab a disposable mask, or one of those fancy fabric ones, even after the mandatory order expires. You may be saving your own life or someone else’s, or at least a couple of weeks of being sick. And don’t forget gloves, or hand sanitizer, and social distancing.

You’ll be doing your part to help to stop the spread of this pandemic, so we can all go back sooner to the way things used to be.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)