Thursday, October 22, 2020
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MASK: Flip side of freedom

| October 16, 2020 1:00 AM

Some people think not wearing a mask is about freedom. Using that kind of logic, is sneezing or coughing near other people without covering our mouths a freedom issue? Chances are your mama taught you to use those precautions. It’s not only common sense, it’s caring about other people.

COVID is passed from person to person through droplets that are breathed out and someone else breathes in, or from touching something an infected person has touched. Infectious droplets can remain suspended in the air even after the infected person is no longer there, particularly where there is insufficient ventilation. If not wearing a mask is about freedom, does that apply to handwashing and disinfecting too?

So, why would a person not wear a mask? OK, they’re inconvenient, they make your ears stick out, they can be hot and fog your glasses, you can’t clearly hear what other people say or see their facial expressions, and, after a while, you have to come up for a breath of fresh air. But the inconvenience is worth the effort if it keeps others, and us, safer.

Are masks infallible? Does wearing one mean you can’t get COVID or that you can’t spread it another way? Of course not, but it’s a common-sense safeguard, that and social distancing. The closer we are to an infected person and the things they’ve touched, the more risk there is.

The way I see it, what a person does regarding their own health and safety is their business but not wearing a mask, and calling it freedom of choice, is putting the rest of us at risk.

JAN NOYES

Coeur d’Alene