Why I wear a mask

Because I fear getting a COVID-19 infection? Have no doubt, I’m afraid of this disease for myself; but not much. The death rate for SARS CoV-2 infection is a lot more than annual influenza, and age puts me in a high-risk group. But, I’m blessed with good health and live in an area that currently has a low infection rate.

Statistically, here at home, I’m not very likely to be exposed to the disease. I know if I get COVID-19, I’ll probably be sick. Most likely, I won’t die or be permanently injured.

I’m more afraid of what it might do to someone who gets it from someone who got it from me. Like other viruses, we can be infected with COVID-19 and spread it before we feel sick; and some can be infected and never feel anything at all. If I’m one of those, without intending to, I could give it to another, who gives it to another, who gives it to a mother who is immunosuppressed because of her chemotherapy … and she dies. I’d probably not know about it, in this lifetime. But I don’t want to be that guy. I’ll wear a mask because I respect you and care about you, even if I don’t know you.

Finally, I work in healthcare.

A colleague once looked at the cafeteria choices on my plate and commented, “If a heart surgeon can eat stuff like that, I guess I can too!” Others are influenced by what we do.

Several times a day I ask myself, “What kind of example do I want to be?” And I put on a mask.

Gerald Early


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