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Wearing a mask is noticed, appreciated

To the Journal editor:

It’s a sense of great concern that many people in the general public feel when we see you without a mask. Several reasons are given for the lack of mask usage, and almost without exception, they are lacking in substance or credibility. You may feel that you are making a statement by going maskless, and indeed, you are. You’re saying any or all of the following:

I do not care

≤ about the elderly, many of whom lack the ability to fight this virus and will wind up weakened and in long term care or dead, should they contract Coronavirus.

≤ about anybody who is fighting cancer and who will very likely die if they become sickened with the virus during critical points in their treatment.

≤ about diabetics, whom studies have shown have a much higher risk of morbidity and mortality from the Covid-19 virus.

≤ about the random person in the store that looks perfectly healthy, but inexplicably succumbs to the illness.

≤ about the parents who lose children or the children who lose parents when they become severely ill.

≤ about the people who will lose work and income, and possibly become homeless if the virus goes unchecked.

You may feel that you look more attractive or are making a political statement by your refusal. Rest assured, this is not the case. You look like someone who has no regard for others because of the potential impact of your decision. You look like someone who does not understand science beyond the fifth-grade level. You look like someone incapable of doing something unless you receive personal gain, because as we all have been informed, wearing the mask doesn’t protect you personally, it protects those around you, and is only effective if we all do it.

Yes, wearing a mask is hot. It fogs glasses and feels claustrophobic at times. It’s one more thing to launder. All of us deal with this, not just you.

Please do not wait for the opportunity to make some grand gesture that defines your life. It is unlikely to happen. That grand gesture is often made up of a thousand small ones and cumulatively defines who we are as a person. You can begin adding to those by putting on a mask.

To those out there who are wearing masks, it is noticed and appreciated. In that seemingly small gesture, you are heroes.

SHELLY REINHARDT BAILEY

Ishpeming

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