To Mask or Not To Mask?

The Corona Times – June 4, 2020

by Brandon Roberts, Mitchell News-Journal

Photo of Rhonda Gunter wearing a homemade face maskThe following post is from the May 20, 2020 edition of the MItchell News-Journal.Editor Brandon Roberts discusses the issue of wearing masks in public.

Whether to wear a mask in public has become a much-debated topic lately, even devolving into one about politics, fear and an infringement on one’s freedoms.

There are several reasons to wear a mask. There is currently a virus going around called COVID-19. It’s a sneaky little bug and sometimes tends to do quite a bit of damage to people, especially the elderly and those with other health problems. Studies show that with other respiratory-spread viruses as well, wearing facial coverings may help prevent the spread.

Wearing a mask doesn’t mean one believes all the information out there about COVID-19 – there’s a lot we don’t know. Choosing to wear a mask is a minor inconvenience, and deciding whether to wear one does not mean you are right or wrong about something about which you have no expertise.

While wearing a mask won’t keep you from getting COVID-19, it’s not really about you. If someone knew for sure he or she would contract coronavirus and feel no effects, but could still spread it to people, wouldn’t it still be incumbent on them to do their part, as a Christian and as a human, to take into consideration their family, friends and fellow man? One never knows if someone could die because one failed to take a precautionary measure that’s nothing more than a little inconvenient.

Wearing a mask does not mean one does or does not support a particular politician, party or ideology. It’s just a mask.

Some people think wearing a mask is a sign of weakness or fear. First, what someone thinks of you should barely register as you make a choice you know can protect your wife, children, other family members, your church community, the residents of your local community and the vulnerable people around you at any given time.

Jesus Christ always seems to voice His love of, and blessings on, the weak, the meek, the little and the least. If you’re considered weak by the world, perhaps you are doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord, which is much more important than what people think of you. Don’t be sorry about that.

Wearing a mask does not mean one thinks we should remain on lockdown, etc. Let’s remove the illness’ direct harm to others from the equation. If something doesn’t change, this economic morass into which we’re rapidly sinking is only going to worsen, causing more pain, loss and death. Wearing a mask, washing your hands correctly and often, and the other tactics people are undertaking, if successful, will help us remain “open” and rebound more readily and with fewer interruptions.

Ultimately, we should all care more about the people side than the money side of this equation, but we should also recognize there is a human impact on both sides. Regardless, fewer infections equal better outcomes in both areas.

Masks are physically and mentally uncomfortable, and they hinder effective communication. Medical experts say that wearing one helps in this situation, so until further information arises that leads people away from that direction, we will see people wearing them in social situations for the next little bit. Even those who choose to wear a mask I’m sure long for the day when it’s no longer necessary.

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About the Numbers

You will note a series of numbers contained in the blog. They document the spread of virus through confirmed cases by the federal Centers for Disease Control and by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These are the official totals provided by state and local government at the date of the post and do not include estimates or cases not confirmed by these agencies. This is our effort to provide an accurate gauge of confirmed virus spread as it continues during the pandemic.

31,966

Cases in North Carolina
6/4/20

960

Deaths in North Carolina
6/4/20

659

Current Hospitalizations
in North Carolina
6/4/20

3,379

Cases in Western North Carolina
6/4/20

16

Cases in Mitchell County
6/4/20

131

Deaths in
Western North Carolina
6/4/20

1,842,101

Cases in the United States
6/4/20

107,029

Deaths in the United States
6/4/20

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