Readers' Mailbag: Wear or Not to Wear, That is the Question

-Rev. Dr. Ira S. Williams, Jr.
Gravois Mills
Lake Sun Leader

According to the recent advisory published by the CDC, recent medical studies prove that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. The virus can spread between people interacting in proximity through speaking, coughing, or sneezing, even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., all medical services and businesses which provide needed services to the public).

I am 75 years old and one of many “at risk” citizens whose life will be threatened if I am infected by the Covid-19 virus. Our state government continues to do a good job responding to the pandemic. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump dismisses the need to wear a mask and the need to be tested. His contempt for medical science and his vanity are clearly emulated by his minions. Those celebrating the Memorial Day weekend at Backwater Jacks, and other establishments of drink, food and fellowship, the Home Depot employees and its customers join Trump’s lead and remain contemptuous of medical advice. They have decided that their celebration is more important than the health of their neighbors.

I am grateful for the efforts of the lake merchants who strive to follow the CDC and Missouri Government mandates when re-opening or remaining open to serve our community. I especially thank Laurie’s G2M, Porter’s, Bryant’s, the Lake Regional Pharmacy, Clinic Walmart employees and for standing their posts during these dangerous times. Going without minnows, medication, medical treatment, and food would make this old man quite angst. Practicing social distancing and wearing a mask does provide some self-protection but it provides serious protection for those you interact with. When you breathe on a paper/fabric mask, but do not wear one yourself, you pass on the virus to that person.

As I entered G2M in Laurie last week—wearing a mask—I decided to ask a couple coming out why they were not wearing a mask. The lady (obviously prepared for such a question after previous encounters with socially responsible persons) immediately got in my face and said, “I woke up this morning in a free country”. Before I could explain the mask is not only to protect you but to protect others, her husband leaned into my face and said, “You Nazi”. All I could do was start laughing and enter the store. I then decided to use a different tact. As I encountered those few wearing a mask, I thanked them for doing so. To a person I received, “you’re welcome and thank you”.

For now, it will be iffy for my wife and me to do our periodic shopping trip for essentials. Too many misguided souls are confused about what it really means to live in a free country. They forget that we remain free when we are considerate of others.

-Rev. Dr. Ira S. Williams, Jr., Gravois Mills