LETTERS: People should be wearing masks

For the last several months B.C., and in particular Vancouver Island, has heralded the calm, kind and effective leadership of Dr. Bonnie Henry as we have worked hard to “bend the curve” and hold COVID-19 at bay. She is a modern folk hero.

We have stayed home, washed our hands raw, spent weeks in isolation and put great energy into social distancing. Here on the Island as I write, we have had 133 cases, five deaths, nobody is in hospital and 125 have recovered.

So, after today’s outing I find myself asking why, all of a sudden, have so many chosen to disrespect Dr. Henry’s advice Why is it that so many are choosing to disregard the advice of not only Dr. Henry but also Dr. Lam, the BC CDC, the US CDC and people like Dr Fauci?

Why are so many acting as if it is business as usual? It isn’t.

The advice is wear a mask, particularly when social distancing is not possible. Wearing a mask protects me from you, and mine protects you from me, lest we be asymptotic carriers of the virus. Wearing a mask cuts the spread, experts tell us. It keeps us from taking it home to our loved ones, people of colour who, according to the data, are more at risk, and those who are compromised by things such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma, etc.

Today we uncharacteristically went shopping at a major store in Uptown. There was no evidence of crowd control. We estimated at best we were part of the 10 per cent of the crowd wearing masks. We also estimated only 10 per cent of the store staff were wearing a mask.

The only evidence of any active program was sanitizing of carts and supervised social distancing at the checkout points.

Is nobody listening? Is nobody watching the news as the U.S. experienced 45,000 new cases in one day with increasing hospitalizations? Is nobody watching as places like Houston and Phoenix are within days of running out of critical care beds? Is nobody seeing the median age of victims is now in the 30-age group not the 60s?

Come on people! Get your heads out of the clouds. It is not business as usual. Wear a mask. You just might save a life. It could be your life, you mom’s life, your grandmother or someone you really care for.

Hegel said the one thing we learn from history is we do not learn from history. This thing is still out there lurking. It is not history. If you think that, Google Spanish Flu.

This is worse than Spanish Flu and for now the tools developed to deal with that pandemic failed because people failed to use them. We are at the same point. These are the only tools we have at this point.

Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp? You might survive it now but read the emerging science on the damage to organs in the body. There will be a legacy we cannot fathom at this point but there will be a day when the piper will want to be paid for the tune you choose today.

Alex Currie

North Saanich

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