The fact that this is even a controversial topic in some places and in some heads is really bizarre. And yet, here we are.

So, let’s briefly discuss the issue of face masks.

First, let’s mention what this issue is NOT. An ordinary, non-medical, non-N95 face mask really is NOT going to offer you tons of protection against COVID-19. It’s admittedly NOT the most comfortable thing to have on, and as we move into the summer months, it’s NOT going to feel particularly cooling when you wear it.

But a cloth face mask — the kind that we see many people wearing these days when they either shop at or work in a store — may help protect others by filtering many of the droplets you may expel in your breath. If you are asymptomatic with COVID-19, that mask could be a small but important contribution to containing the spread of the virus.

Clearly, some people aren’t wearing masks in public places because they think it’s unnecessary, they don’t possess a mask, they forgot to bring it with them or they don’t realize that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends people wear such masks in order to curb the spread of the virus.

And yet, this has somehow become a divisive political issue in some instances. We’ve seen reports of people defying stay-at-home orders in some states, and part of their act of defiance is to pointedly NOT wear a face mask while also ignoring social distancing measures and other proposals meant to safeguard health.

Some of these expressions of defiance, especially regarding face masks, have turned heated at times, which is ironic. For these people, the act of not wearing a face mask is a declaration of freedom, but in effect, what they are fighting for is the freedom to potentially infect others with the coronavirus. Thus, the people who should really be angry and upset are those who must deal with people who refuse to wear masks.

(And we’ve seen this happen, too. There has been at least one well-circulated social media video showing unmasked people in a store being verbally assaulted and literally chased out of the establishment by masked shoppers.)  

The issue is such that North Dakota Gov. Doug Borgum addressed the matter last week, bringing up the issue of “mask shaming” those people who choose to wear a mask during the pandemic. At times getting emotional, the Republican governor told his fellow North Dakotans, “If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in, or what candidates they support. They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life, who currently have COVID, and are fighting.

“You should look at them and say, ‘that person’s wearing a mask because, for them, there’s additional risk in their life,’” he said.

He added, “This is … a senseless dividing line and I would ask people to try to dial up your empathy and your understanding.”

Nevertheless, this seems to be who we are now. It’s peculiar and frustrating — an aggressive divisiveness that may be one indicator of why this country has, to date, appeared uniquely unprepared to deal with COVID-19 in a unified, more effective matter.

To be honest, we haven’t heard of too much “mask shaming” in the Yankton vicinity so far, but if this is stirring in North Dakota, it can’t be too far away.

Some people are going to wear masks and some people, for various reasons, aren’t. No law can mandate this. But frankly, you’d be smarter, wiser and more considerate if you did — and we’d be better off if cooler heads can prevail. All politics aside, that’s the bottom line.

kmh

(5) comments

MISTER GARY

Opposition to Face Masks and Social Distancing is led by President Trump, who uses for Political Reason. Trump is a Liar and a Crook, and, most Republicans kiss his behind. Trump is the most despicable human being (if you can call Trump Human). Trump is the world's greatest Fake News Person! Obama not being a natural born citizen started it, and now the Lie about Joe Scarborough killing someone is the latest. Trump has NO proof at all, yet, only relatively few Republicans will say it. While Trump preaches the 1st Amendment: Freedom of speech, he threatens to take it away...from anyone who criticizes--TELLS THE TRUTH about him. Trump is the MOST EVIL MAN THERE HAS EVER BEEN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!

MidwestLife

So you are definitely making this political! Hahahaha did you read the article at all? I choose not to wear a mask and that is my choice, no politics involved, I just don't wear one.

Livefree

Get a grip about Trump I bet you never drive downtown and see the tons of people in and out of the bars not even caring about anything or anybody have you hypocrite

kmblount

A reminder that when you choose to go out in public without a mask you are actively creating a world where immunocompromised people of all types & reasons can’t also be present. You make it so we are not safe anywhere but our homes. YOU do that.

dmilroy

kmh [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][censored][thumbup]

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