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America, Unmasked

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

These are troubling times. It's the middle of July 2020. The coronavirus is raging. The United States leads the world in coronavirus infections (3.48 million) and deaths (138K). Yet, some people refuse to wear a mask. Why? Have we lost our minds? Have we become selfish, narrow-minded and misinformed? All of the above? I hope not.

During June 2020, President Trump held a campaign rally in an indoor stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma and another rally of Students for Trump in a church in Arizona. Masks and social distancing were not required. For Trump supporters, wearing a mask is about defying expert opinions and upholding individual freedom. This was a dangerous experiment, with potentially deadly consequences.

I wore my mask even before it was required, to protect myself from other people and to protect others from me. I don't want to get COVID-19. Wearing a mask is a necessary precaution.

Anti-maskers accuse the maskers of having herd mentality. I wonder if anti-maskers are thinking about health care workers. I personally know a few of them; they are exhausted and scared. I don't blame them for thinking anti-maskers are being selfish.

Facebook and YouTube have video clips showing people being belligerent about wearing a mask. At a Costco in Colorado, a man was confronted by a store employee for not wearing a mask, as required by their policy. Refusing to comply, the man said, "I'm not doing it. So, I woke up in a free country. . . "cause I'm not an f . . .ing sheep." Concerned about his freedom, he probably didn't think at all about the Costco employees who are in contact with so many people during their work day. He was only thinking about himself. The quick-thinking Costco employee told the man to have a great day, took the man's shopping cart, and told him to leave as he is no longer welcome in the warehouse.


A 77-year old woman at a Costco in Hillsboro, Oregon refused to wear a mask. Apparently, she didn't have a medical condition that prohibited her from wearing one. The video of the incident shows a mask dangling from her right ear. Her reason for not wearing the mask? "I'm a United States citizen. I have constitutional rights." When asked by a Costco employee to step outside, the woman plopped herself on the floor. It's almost funny, except that a few Costco employees had to deal with her nonsense. It's as if the woman woke up that day, decided to go down to the local Costco and be annoying. Was she thinking about the right of the Costco employees to work in a safe environment? Obviously not. She was only thinking about her rights.

These days, I grapple to understand why people are ignoring science and common sense. But then again, some people think climate change is a hoax. After all, not many people actually see the polar ice caps melting or ecosystems collapsing.

On the same token, if someone does not know anyone who was infected or died from COVID-19, they decide that it's a hoax. Don't people read or watch the news anymore? But there are those who think main stream media is liberal media; hence, it's all fake news. Or they trust the politicians more than health care professionals.

In the age of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, it is harder to find the truth. We are lucky to live in America where there is still freedom of the press and we can still find objective data.

The science is clear. Wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If this is the United States of America, can we unite and agree to sacrifice a little for the common good? It's about public health and a matter of life and death.

~ Nida Spalding






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