Just Wear the Mask, Please!

Just wear the mask, please! It’s a simple form of self-preservation and human decency, an act that takes very little time, money, and exertion. And yet I continue to be baffled as to why, after months of isolation, hardship, death, and a failing economy due to a widespread pandemic, the concept of simply covering our mouth and nose to prevent the spread of disease is so blatantly disregarded in indoor, public spaces.

Is it uncomfortable, hot, and less than ideal? Yes. Does it protect YOU from contracting a potentially deadly virus? Very much, the answer is yes. Does it also protect other human beings from contracting a virus you may unknowingly be spreading? Again, yes.

Despite the mounds of research (read: science, not Facebook theories) chronicling how the spread of COVID-19 would plummet if all of us would comply, I continue to witness grown adults throwing toddler-like tantrums at businesses such as Menards and Costco because the store required them to be masked upon entering. It is to be noted, such businesses also require shoes and clothing to enter the store, and we, as a human race, have been able to get on board with that logic, so let’s also hop on the mask bandwagon as well. It won’t be forever.

Quinton Lucas, Mayor of Kansas City, recently announced patrons will need to temporarily don face coverings in public spaces due to a surge of positive cases in the metro area. He listened to the scientific experts who have declared the most effective way we may all enjoy a somewhat normal existence in the near future is to cover our noses and mouths when amongst the public. What should be a simple matter of safety and human decency has somehow become politicized. It shouldn’t be. It can’t be.

Wearing a mask is an easy way to avoid intubation and potentially dying alone in a hospital ICU. As the wife of a healthcare worker, I have listened to multiple accounts of perfectly healthy, young adults being asked what their medical wishes will be once they learn ventilation is on the horizon. We wouldn’t wish that circumstance on our worst enemy. Even if we end up avoiding a hospital stay, the prolonged effects of COVID-19 keep patients isolated from family, unable to work and utterly miserable. Aren’t those all things we would like to avoid?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear a cloth face covering in public spaces where social distancing is hard to maintain in order to prevent circumstances I just mentioned from happening. Because that young adult being asked his or her wishes may be a new dad or a treasured friend, but it also may be you. So if you cannot get on board with doing it for others, be selfish in your pursuit of a long and healthy life.

Use it as a reason to resume frequenting hometown music festivals and summer evening professional baseball games. Do it so you can look forward to grocery shopping without the fear of someone sneezing two aisles over. Do it so you will no longer have to be your children’s’ homeroom teacher, principal and counselor. Wear it so you can hug your parents and grandparents without the fear of them getting sick. Wear it so you can attend your high school reunion or sip wine at a neighborhood block party without having to yell “six feet!!” to your children every few minutes. Wear a mask so you can plan a baby shower for your pregnant sister, since the CDC recently declared expectant mothers a high risk population due to increased instances of hospitalization. Do it so you will never know what the ceiling of an ICU room looks like.

Throughout our history, Americans have come together time and time again to fight so many awful atrocities. This shouldn’t be any different. Our individualist culture and apparent lack of empathy is keeping us from moving forward. The better we do at protecting ourselves, the faster we can be together again. We can stop the spread of suffering with very simple acts of generosity.

Our kids are watching us. They will see and emulate how we deal with tough times. Wouldn’t it be amazing to model profound empathy, despite it being an inconvenience? It’s what is best for human kind. It is what is best for our country. Let’s be patriots because our country is calling. Our parents and grandparents had to travel across the world to fight against evil in bitterly fought wars, and all we have to do is put on a mask. We must do our part.

Kristin is a Lee’s Summit suburb transplant, after living in the Brookside and Plaza areas for over eight years. Raising three young boys with her husband, Jake, has helped her to embrace the messy, wild side of life where love is expressed in bear hugs and body slams. Professionally, she can be found teaching classes as an adjunct professor in the areas of Business, Marketing and PR. She is able to provide her students with applicable, real-life knowledge as she draws from several years working in the corporate sector. “Free time” (ha!, what's that again?) is spent on an occasional date night to favorite local restaurants, reading blogs on everything from home design to politics, riding her sweet beach cruiser bike and thinking of ways to convince her husband to do yet another home improvement project.