Boys and girls. Friends and family. Ladies and gentlemen. Today we are talking about masks. We are talking about why we are wearing them, when we are wearing them, and how we are wearing them. We are talking about masks because apparently there are quite a few people out there who need this explained to them.
The country is beginning to open back up. The state of Alabama, where I live, is one of the places that reopened this week, which has caused some interesting and intense issues to come up in my community. Hoover City Schools has decided to go through with their in-person graduation ceremonies on May 20th and 21st, meaning that more than 3500 people will gather together in one place during a global pandemic. I would just like to remind everyone here that the numbers of people being diagnosed and dying are still climbing. The school board is putting everyone at risk. The local, state, and federal governments are putting everyone at risk by opening restaurants, salons, stores, etc. back up to the public. One might argue that people have the choice of whether or not they attend any of these places. Yes. Sure. However, I would counter with the points that many do not have access to resources that keep them well enough informed to make educated decisions; many people are not in socioeconomic positions to continue staying home by choice now that their employers are reopening and asking them to come back or lose money; many people do not have the emotional capacity, mental capacity, or maturity to make the correct choice to turn down invitations to public gatherings that they have been missing so much for the past however long.
That was my rant about why the people in charge should not be giving us the options to reintegrate into society. BUT since they are in fact giving us that choice, it is vital that people wear their masks when they make the choice to go out. Breathing each other’s air is dangerous right now. Really, really dangerous. Six to ten feet of separation is fabulous. Covering your mouth when you cough is wonderful. Washing your hands is a must. Wearing your mask is essential to keeping yourself and others healthy. You do not know who around you is sick. Honestly, you do not know if you are sick. So many people who have tested positive for this virus have been asymptomatic for long periods of time before spiking a fever–if they ever do at all. There are still extensive unknowns about COVID-19, but what we do know is terrifying. Protect yourself. Protect others. It’s that simple.
If you are leaving your house, wear your mask. If you get out of your car for any reason, wear your mask. If you are going to be around any person that does not live with you, wear your mask.
And wear it the right way, y’all!
The mask should cover both your mouth and your nose at all times. Do not touch it once you have left the safety of your house or your car. Do not cut a nose hole in your mask because it’s hard to breathe. Do not hang the mask from one ear because you suddenly feel a little suffocated. Do not take it off and then put it back on because you wanted to have a conversation with someone. Just don’t do it. You totally defeat the purpose of the mask if it is not protecting both your mouth and your nose the entire time you are in the unsafe public zone. Also, remember to wash your mask after every time you wear it out because the germs are very real and they are out there. If you need to go out more than once, wear a different mask while the other one is washing.
This is not a drill.
As someone who was told to wear a mask by a team of specialists long before COVID came, I can promise you that you will get over feeling out of fashion. I can promise you that you will eventually get used to the feeling of something on your face. I can promise you that you can be confident enough to get over people looking at you funny–and guess what, you’re super lucky in that everyone else is doing this too right now, so you’re not even the weird chick like I was.
A mask could save your life today, tomorrow, the next day. A mask could be what saves your coworker, your favorite waitress, or the check out lady at the grocery store from the virus you’ve been unknowingly carrying around.
Be a hero. Do what you can. We’ve got this.