Wear your face mask; it is right thing to do

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I hate wearing a mask. It irritates the back of my ears and makes it hard for me to breathe.

It also makes my prescription eyeglasses fog up so I have to pull them down toward the end of my nose, which is covered by a mask and makes them more likely to fall off.

Not only is wearing a mask uncomfortable, it makes me look funny.

Email newsletter signup

People stare at me when I’m wearing it. I’m starting to think they are giving me odd looks not so much because I look funny but more so because I believe the mask will help curtail the spread of COVID-19. I say that because most of the people who look at me like I am an alien when I am wearing the mask are not wearing a mask themselves.

It is kind of like the woman I saw a few weeks ago when I took a Sunday drive to the Windsor ruins outside of Lorman.

The ruins are precarious and are soon to undergo stabilization efforts by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which has built a tall chain-link fence around the ruins. The fence is clearly marked warning people to stay out for their own safety and to help protect the ruins from further deterioration.

That message seemed to apply to everyone except for one woman who had crawled under the chain link fence the day I was there, and she wandered around freely taking pictures from right underneath the ruins.

Maybe she actually believes she is special and does not have to follow the rules. Maybe she cannot read. Maybe she thinks the rules just don’t apply to her, or maybe she just thinks the rules are an impingement on her freedoms.

Regardless, everyone else was standing outside of the fence and obeying the rules.

Not wearing a mask in the age of COVID-19 is a little like her trespassikng on the Windsor ruins.

Despite the information that has been shared for months, many people still do not seem to understand based on some of the vitriolic rhetoric I have seen shared on social media about mask wearing requirements.

Masks are not worn to protect yourself from the virus. Masks are worn to protect other people in case you are infected with the virus and are spreading the disease.

Medical experts tell us that social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding large groups of people, frequent hand washing and not touching our faces are the most effective means we have of curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

So, when you see me or anyone else wearing a mask, remember they are doing it to protect you and others in case they have the disease and don’t know it. I do not want to pass COVID-19 on to anyone who in turn might go on to infect untold others.

As a City of Natchez advertisement in our newspaper tells us, when one out of two people is wearing a mask the probability of infection is 70%. When two out of two people are wearing a mask the probability of infection is 5%.

So, go ahead, call it fake news. Complain about mask requirements infringing on your rights, but remember that your rights stop when the exercise of your rights infringe on your neighbors’ rights and that includes possibly infecting them with a disease you may not know you are spreading.

Wear your mask! I am.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.