Let’s be real. All of us are ready for things to get back to normal as soon as possible. I’m tired of wearing my mask everywhere. It’s hot outside and I don’t like the feel of my breath constantly on my face. But as I try to squeeze in summer activities before school (hopefully) starts as planned this fall, seeing the mask in my car when I go out is a good reminder to not grow complacent. This Covid-19 pandemic is still very much present. Cases are rising in the US, but if you look at the numbers it is really the South that is leading the way. Other regions have seen smaller spikes and in some places even decreasing, but not here. And we can’t write this rise off to just doing more tests. This virus is spreading more than it was two months ago. Social distancing and masks are still the key to breaking Covid’s hold on our communities and things getting back to normal sooner rather than later. If crowds can’t be avoided, masks become crucial. Their purpose is to keep someone who doesn’t know they’re sick, either showing no symptoms or only very mild symptoms, from spreading infection to others.
Projection models updated as of yesterday predict another 180,000 deaths in the US by October. However, if 95% of people would wear masks out in public that number drops by 33,000. I hope this model is overestimating the number of deaths, but unfortunately only time will tell. So for me, wearing a mask every time I leave my house seems like a small price to pay to save 33,000 lives – grandparents, cancer fighters on chemotherapy, loved ones. The same projection model predicts that cases will start to drop again and our early fall might start to look a little more like normal. That’s great news, and I want to do my hardest to make sure it happens. There are worse killers out there than Covid, that’s true. But with Covid, I can do something to make it less of a killer. I can make a difference.
So until we reach normal, let’s all make a decision to do our parts to keeping our communities and neighbors safe. I may not be at high risk for hospitalization or death from Covid, but I know plenty of people who are. If me wearing a mask keeps me from giving an infection to even one of them, then to me, the trouble and annoyance is worth it.