Do it for your grandma or grandpa.
Do it for your child’s teacher. Or the nurse at the local hospital. Or the neighbor kid who has to move germ-covered shopping carts to and from the parking lot all day.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because thousands of other people are doing it for you.
If you can’t bring yourself to be that selfless, do it because it will benefit you — both now and in the long run — as more places remain open and available to you.
Whatever the reason, for heaven’s sake, JUST DO IT ALREADY!
Do what, you ask? WEAR A @#%& MASK!
Wait, wait, wait. Screaming and cursing in anger isn’t a good way to convince someone to do something you want them to do! (Sorry, folks, we let our frustrations get the better of us there for a second.)
Let’s calm down and try a different approach, such as this imaginary TV commercial:
“Welcome to Wyoming, where we take care of one another ... in good times (show scene of two ranchers loading bales of hay onto a trailer) ... and not so good (cut to a scene of several Good Samaritans helping someone dig their car out of a deep snowdrift).
“And during a global pandemic like the one that arrived in the Cowboy State back in March, that care and support comes in some new ways (show two people putting on masks before they walk into a hardware store) — some that are even a bit uncomfortable. It means giving people 6 feet or more of space if they don’t live under the same roof you do. It means steering clear of grocery stores and other businesses during times set aside for the most vulnerable among us. It means staying home and away from others whenever you feel sick.
“And yes, it means wearing a mask or other type of face covering whenever social distancing isn’t possible, such as inside retail stores and in other public places.
“We know, we know. It’s not comfortable, and no one likes being told they ‘have to’ do something. That’s why our leaders haven’t imposed a mask mandate, and most stores aren’t kicking you out when you walk in with your face uncovered.
“But as the number of COVID-19 cases reaches new record highs every day across Wyoming, we all need to do our part to take care of one another ... to keep our friends and neighbors healthy ... to keep our local businesses open and thriving ... to keep our kids in school, where we know they learn best ... to keep our senior centers open so those most vulnerable to the highly contagious virus can see the ones they love.
“You get the point. And because here in Wyoming we live by the 10 ethics contained in the Code of the West, let’s all focus for a minute on No.4: “Do what has to be done.” Today, that means wearing a mask so that tomorrow — or as soon as possible — we can get back to normal.
“Remember: This is just for now, not forever.”
(With apologies to the Wyoming Department of Health for co-opting their current pandemic marketing theme.)
Or maybe you’re the intellectual type who isn’t swayed by emotional pleas. You’ll make your choices based on facts, thank you very much.
Great! Here are just a few from recent stories in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and other media:
Each day for more than three weeks now, the number of active cases of the novel coronavirus has been rising to new record levels in Wyoming. As of Wednesday, there were 1,859 people statewide trying to fight off the illness. Laramie County accounted for 293 of those cases, which was nearly 222% higher than two weeks earlier, when active cases totaled 91. And they’ve nearly doubled in the past week. (Source: Wyoming Department of Health data)
Despite a commonly circulated myth that COVID-19 is no worse than influenza, the data shows that globally, about 3-4% of people die of COVID-19, while the mortality rate for the flu is less than 0.1%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the largest number of people who have died in a single flu season in the U.S. is 61,000 in 2017-18. But so far more than 216,000 have died in just seven months in the U.S. of COVID-19. In fact, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus is quickly approaching the total number who died from the flu in the past six years combined, 229,000. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/past-seasons.html)
So far, 57 of those have been our Wyoming friends and neighbors. Yes, nearly twice as many people have died in car crashes on Wyoming roadways so far this year. But why do people have to die to be statistically important? Also as of Wednesday, more than 8,100 people have been lab-confirmed positive or listed as probable for COVID-19. Many of them are still suffering the after-effects of the illness, which could last for weeks, months or even the rest of their lives. (Source: WDH data)
Nationwide, nearly 8 million people have suffered from COVID-19. And health experts have been warning for months of a fall and winter “surge” of coronavirus cases and deaths. On Tuesday, 36 states — including Wyoming — were experiencing just that. But researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said late last month that between 95,000 and 100,000 lives could be saved if 95% of Americans wear masks now and during the winter months. (Source: Newsweek magazine online, Sept. 26)
After hovering around 20 virus-induced hospitalizations in late September, Wyoming has seen that number more than double in recent weeks, reaching a record high of 56 hospitalizations last Friday. (Source: WDH data)
While Cheyenne and Laramie hospital officials aren’t too concerned at this point about their ICU capacity, what happens if the situation continues to worsen? And what about the smaller facilities in rural parts of the state? What do they do if they’re suddenly overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, leaving no room for other emergency situations?
And for those who think we all just need to get COVID-19 and let the chips fall where they may, the director general of the World Health Organization this past week said, “... herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic.” (Source: Fortune magazine online, Oct. 14)
Whatever you need to hear, in whatever way you need to hear it, the message is the same: Until a proven vaccine is widely available to the world’s population, we need to protect one another in every way possible.
So please find a mask you can live with, hang it from your rearview mirror and put it on whenever you’re around other people.
This shouldn’t be a political issue, no one’s trampling on your rights, and your age or current health don’t factor into the decision. It’s simply about protecting the life and livelihood of everyone — including you. We’re just asking you to do the (logical/scientifically proven/ethically correct/compassionate) thing here. Please, as Nike would say, “Just Do It.”