File Photo/Black Press

EDITORIAL: Why I wear a mask and you should, too

Editor Adam Louis says it’s about more than the practical

I haven’t been around Agassiz and Harrison as much as I’d like to be. Given a worldwide pandemic, I can scarcely be blamed.

When I am out and about in Chilliwack or in Agassiz and Harrison, I frequently wear a mask. I admit I still feel a healthy mix of silly and shady whenever I don it, but I still do it anyway.

It’s true that I don’t have the ideal N95 mask most commonly reserved for those on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. However, what I do have is a decent, additional shield in the event I carry COVID-19 and I sneeze, cough or, as Trudeau infamously put it, “talk moistly.” I’ve been fortunate enough not to get sick during this time, but it’s better to be safe.

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The effectiveness of wearing masks that fall short of the N95 standard has been the subject of debate and controversy since COVID-19 first emerged. Sometimes it’s recommended, sometimes it isn’t. Some say it’s effective, others aren’t as sure. There are some who strictly view it as a symbol of government oppression, but I have neither the time nor patience to give the notion a further platform when the greater good is at stake.

In addition to curbing my ongoing nervous habit of touching my face (a vice only aggravated by the recent addition of a full beard), wearing a mask helps prevent respiratory droplets from slipping out of my various orifices and onto unsuspecting and unwilling bystanders.

Gross.

It’s not perfect. We all know that. But wearing a mask is just another weapon in the arsenal in the fight against COVID-19. Until and even for some time after a vaccine is developed, we need all the help we can get.

Wearing a mask is more than just practical. To me, having a mask on sends a message says “Hey, I don’t know if I’m carrying any illness, but I care enough about you that I don’t want to risk making you sick. Stay strong, we’re getting there.”

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I’ve said it before, and I may end up saying it again soon – I find social media shaming to be ineffective and counterproductive in a vast majority of cases, perpetuating an addiction to the illusion of power that is both toxic and false. Please refrain from shaming those who choose not to wear a mask on social media.

If someone is perhaps standing a bit close to you, I don’t think it’s out of the question or impolite to gently remind them to continue distancing. Unlike elsewhere, here in the Fraser Valley, I find it possible to do that without fear of people getting offended, screaming their throats raw about personal freedom and retaliating by coughing on you.

I can’t order you to wear a mask, nor do I intend to. You’re, I assume, a mature person. I would, however, recommend it. It’s an additional step that could slow the spread of COVID-19 even further. Even if it only affects one other person, it’s worth it.

To those of you who have made masks to sell or give to others, carry on. You’re doing great work and your contributions absolutely matter. Be proud.

To all of you, kindly wear a mask. Keep washing your hands. Keep your distance. At the very least, it’s just the polite thing to do.



adam.louis@ahobserver.com

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