I’m not particularly religious but I have enough Methodist left in me to have taken John Wesley‘s most famous aphorisms to heart:

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

And that leads me to wearing a mask in public. While I walked on the beach at Gulf Shores at sunrise on Saturday without one, I put one on before I entered the grocery store and kept it on until I finished my errands and headed home.

I’m not a brainwashed fool. And the people I’m listening to aren’t fools either.

The World Health Organization cautiously recommends using a mask in conjunction with other preventative actions while staying aware of the risks of cross contamination, etc:

Wearing a medical mask can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. However, the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. Other measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene should be adopted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings:

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Louisiana Public Health recommends masking up:

Heck, even the White House requires all staffers entering the West Wing to wear a facial covering and, in the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, states:

  • Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit.

Wearing a face covering does not require a surrender of your civil liberties. It isn’t a yellow star or a pink triangle and a grocery store refusing to serve someone because they won’t wear a mask isn’t discrimination. All this fighting about a “right to not wear a mask” just results in the further spread of a deadly virus across our country and around the world.

We know coronavirus spreads through the air by droplets from someone who is coughing, sneezing or even talking within a few feet away. Anecdotal reports hint that it could be transmissible through particles suspended in the air. A choir practice in Washington State in early March had dozens of people diagnosed with or developed symptoms of COVID-19 even though they had not shaken hands or stood close to one another and at least two of them died. After dining at an air-conditioned restaurant in China in late January, three families at neighboring tables became sickened with the virus—possibly through droplets blown through the air.

Wearing a mask in most non medical situations isn’t to protect healthy wearers from COVID19 – it’s to keep people with the virus from spreading it to others. A significant number of infected individuals remain asymptomatic – from 25%, 44% or 50% depending on the study. With all those potential carriers walking around with no idea that they are transmitting the virus, erring on the side of caution and wearing a mask seems like just common sense.

A new poll from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project finds 71% of those surveyed said they are worried that the social distancing restrictions are being lifted too quickly. Speaking as someone with vulnerable people in my life, I’m less inclined to go out and spend the money we need to restart our economy without some assurances that I won’t be bringing the virus back home to my parents. Requiring people to wear a mask seems like a simple step so we can reopen America.

For my Second Amendment friends: If you support open carry so that you are ready to stop a bad guy with a gun but you won’t wear a mask to stop a pandemic from spreading, it shows me you aren’t really concerned about protecting the people around you. Let us unite against a common enemy that is killing us – as of May 19, there have been 317,910 worldwide deaths of which 89,248 are Americans.

You want the economy and society to open back up?
Wear a mask.

You don’t want to live with permanent stay home orders?
Wear a mask.

You don’t want everything to close back up again in 2-4 weeks when new cases go through the roof and the death rate rises catastrophically?
Wear a mask.

Please wear a mask. It is quite simply the least you can do to help keep other people safe and healthy.

I pledge to wear my face covering to protect you and I beg you to wears yours to protect me.

Please. Wear a mask.