Letter to the Editor
I know we all hate to wear masks. It’s a pain in the neck and we live in rural Missouri, love the outdoors, and hate government officials telling us what to do. This COVID-19 thing has kept us trapped in our house for 4 months, and it doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon.
If only the virus weren’t so sneaky! You can get infected and never know you had it. You can walk around for a week before you get sick and still be able to transmit it to other people. Very few children have died from it, but they can bring it home to their grandparents who do die from it. At 81 years of age, I’m personally involved.
Masks do prevent the spread of the virus. Each little virus particle attaches itself to a tiny water droplet pushed out into the air by coughing or sneezing.
That’s why six foot distancing helps. The closer you are, and the longer you are exposed, the more likely you are to be infected. That’s why cramped living quarters, cruise ships, prisons, nursing homes were the first places to be hit. But now the bug is everywhere. Every single county in Missouri has recorded cases.
Problem is the virus is new. The science is incomplete. If you go to CDC.gov on the computer you find it maddeningly uncertain. We were told we had to wash our hands if you use a doorknob. That’s theory but the actuality is almost all cases are the result of close face to face contact like the teens and young adults who partied in Lee’s Summit on July 10th.
Masks do prevent contagion, especially if both of you are wearing them. Nobody will be infected by a mask unless they are wearing a used one from somebody else. Quarantine will never work because it only isolates those who are already sick. Sure you must stay away from others if you are coughing or sneezing. But I repeat, many carriers will never know they are infecting others!
We need to be kind to our neighbors, exercise caution, honor the person who is wearing a mask, and don’t call them sissy or stupid. They know something we healthy Missourians don’t know. That until we get the vaccine, a tiny virus no bigger than a dust particle can make you very sick or even kill you.
Ted Rights, MD, MPH