Most folks take disease and death seriously because, well, there ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone. But there are plenty of people who still refuse to take the tiniest baby steps toward slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Not only are they not wearing masks in public, but they’re fuming about the “tyranny” of being asked. The terrible loss of “liberty!” The indignity of wearing a “muzzle!”

Really? This is the country that won two World Wars, put a man on the moon, and invented the Internet? And now some of us can’t even wear a mask to slow the spread of a deadly disease?

So far, COVID-19 has killed more than 140,000 Americans. This is not FAKE NEWS! Every day, it kills roughly 1,000 Americans. Every single day. This pandemic is real, the tears are real, and the deaths – many of them preventable, if only we had a competent president – are real, too.

Here on the Palouse, people are understandably weary of the precautions, the fear and the uncertainty because this coronavirus doesn’t seem like much of a problem. But that could change, quickly. Complacency, mixed with “it-couldn’t-happen-to-me” hubris, could put any of us into an early grave.

Viewed objectively, this is the largest public health emergency that any living American has ever faced – and that includes Grandma and Grandpa.

So once again, is wearing a mask in public really so much to ask?

A lot of gullible people are listening to – and believing – the nonsense spewed by conservative media pundits and politicians, who continue to dismiss the coronavirus as a hoax to damage our current president.

Should we be guided by these fairy tales? Or should we listen to people who actually understand the dynamics of infectious disease transmission?

“Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting,” says Dr. Robert Redfield.

Who is Dr. Redfield? Is he a former reality TV star? Or a former Playboy centerfold? Does he have millions of followers on social media?

No, Dr. Redfield is merely the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He’s a boring science guy full of “facts” and “data.” Another egghead telling us to wear a mask, wash our hands, and eat our vegetables.

Ho. Hum.

The indifference that people have for a rampant disease that’s killed 2 1/2 times more Americans than the Vietnam War is staggering.

Do you think coronavirus sceptics would be so blasé if it were arriving in their homes via the municipal water supply? No, they would raise holy hell and demand that somebody do something about the problem. And that would be appropriate.

In our current situation, it’s not enough to bellow for someone else to fix the problem. All of us need to make a little, bitty sacrifice by wearing a mask when venturing out in public.

It’s always amusing, and a little sad, to see images from mass protests against coronavirus restrictions. All those people, standing shoulder to shoulder to yell, and froth, and perhaps infect everybody around them. Such a pointless way to risk one’s life.

One the saddest, most ironic photos is of a man wearing a red MAGA hat, lost in a large, braying crowd. He’s holding a sign that reads: “My Body, My Choice.”

He won’t let Big Gummint push him around, no way, but how does he feel about a woman’s right to have an abortion?

It’s her body, so it’s her choice. Uncle Sam can’t tell her what to do, right? Let’s be consistent, Mr. Principled Conservative.

After years of collecting passport stamps, William Brock ran aground on the Palousein 2001.

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