Facemasks, freedom, and morality

Morning everyone.

I live in Washington state. In the same county where the first COVID-19 case was discovered officially. I’m back to work now after three months of being furloughed. I’ve had to change a majority of my life because of the virus, even though I don’t personally know anyone who has had it.

Thank the Goddess none of the people I care about have been infected.

Our D&D group went online. I started doing grocery store curbside pick up. Movies are watched at home. We’ve bought more online in the last 3 months than we had the previous 7-10. I spent 2 frantic days making over 50 masks for us, friends, and my hubby’s workplace. Our son graduated high school during this. Our daughter’s college went from in person to online, which was a struggle for her major. Both students and professors faced challenges.

My personal strength was tested more days than not. I am an extrovert. I need people around me. I missed being able to have friends drop by just to talk over a cup of coffee like you can’t imagine. It was a deep longing that drove me close to the breaking point more than once because I couldn’t do it.

I’m better now that I’m back at work. Everyone’s figured out a way to play D&D in person again, while maintaining social distancing and safety protocols. The partners of the players are okay with it. So, yes, things are getting better. Still can’t hug friends, but that’ll come. One step at a time.

Yesterday, our Governor announced that all residents will be required to wear masks when they’re not home. The exceptions being someone who medically can not wear one, someone under the age of 5, and when it’s onerous to do so (like you’re eating!). It’ll be a misdemeanor, fines can be levied, and will remain in place until a vaccine is readily available.

Naturally, people started to scream about it. Claiming personal freedom, they can hurt you if you wear them too long, why do I have to when my county is doing fine, etc. Let me address some of those arguments.

  1. No, they won’t hurt you if you’re a healthy person. I wear one at work (mandatory) for up to 8 hours. I have a history of upper respiratory issues. I agree that they get hot, uncomfortable, and take getting used to. But they will not kill you or damage your lungs.
  2. Everyone has to wear them across the state because we aren’t closing down borders between the counties. If I wanted to this weekend, I could drive to the beach. There’s a county over there that’s now in Phase 3. Ours just hit Phase 2. I could be asymptomatic and feel great. Go to the beach, relax, and come home. Two weeks later, that county could be back to Phase 2 or even Phase 1 because of me. Unless you want to be told you can’t leave the county you live in, everyone’s got to wear them.
  3. ‘You can’t make me! It’s a free country!’ Goddess, this argument is horrible. In the interest of public safety, yes, the government CAN make you wear one. The logic is the same as seat belts in cars, stop signs on the corner, helmet laws for motorcycles, and several others.

I get it. You’re tired of this whole pandemic. I sure am. I want my old life back as much as you do. I want sports on tv, movies in theaters, and city festivals with a couple hundred booths on the street. I wanted my son to have the graduation he expected when he started his senior year.

The thing is, no matter what we want, COVID doesn’t care. The only proven method right now to slow the spread, or at least keep it where the hospitals aren’t being overrun and morgues are using semi trucks to take out bodies, is by wearing masks, washing our hands, and social distancing.

It’s not about if I feel great. It’s about making sure no one I care about gets sick. It’s about not infecting friends, family, co-workers, or customers.

If you’re going to insist that your ‘right’ to not wear a mask, your ‘right’ not to be inconvenienced, trumps the right for ANYONE around you to live, that’s a problem.

Because you don’t care who lives or dies. And I will have a problem with that.


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