Are you wearing a mask in public?

That seems to be the $64 question every day for the last several weeks. Every time I go to the grocery store, I see many people who are not wearing a mask. No mask…in a public place, where there are hundreds of people coming and going…when they have been begged to do so for the health and safety of their neighbors. Especially their elderly neighbors.

So, I just don’t get it. Why are my friends, neighbors and relatives not wearing masks? I know they are hot, and they fog up your glasses. I also know they are inconvenient and that they are not attractive.

Here’s the latest thinking from an expert about the general efficacy of wearing a mask. According to infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong M.D., with the University of San Francisco,  “The concept is risk reduction rather than absolute prevention. You don’t throw up your hands if you think a mask is not 100 percent effective. That’s silly. Nobody’s taking a cholesterol medicine because they’re going to prevent a heart attack 100 percent of the time, but you’re reducing your risk substantially.”

Some people wonder that if they are practicing social distancing; do they still need to wear a mask?

A mnemonic that Chin-Hong likes is the “Three W’s to ward off COVID-19: wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance.” So yes, according to the experts at UCSF, wearing a mask is the best way to reduce transmission of the virus, and the best way to avoid contracting it. There are multiple studies to prove this. I won’t bore you by repeating the findings.

I would hate to see more of my Lehi friends and neighbors get sick. And I don’t want to get sick. If I somehow contract the virus, I don’t want to unknowingly transmit it to others if I am asymptomatic.

So, I guess for me it comes down to the tender feelings I have for my family, my neighbors, and my community. I love you guys. I don’t want you to be sick. I have asthma, and I don’t want to be sick.

I’ll wear a mask when in public. I promise. Will you? What if I say “please”?

Sincerely,

Sally F. Francom

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