Wear a mask, save our city

November 6, 2020

Editor:

Many of didn’t have a lot of extras growing up.  Like mine did, most parents work long hard hours.  That’s why years ago I decided I could be part of the problem – not contribute to my family’s future – or I could get a part-time job and make things better.  I was in middle school.

Much older now, it’s the same reason I chose to wear a mask indoors in public or at gatherings and safely distance.  Yes, I have the right in Arizona cities without a mandate not to do so.  But I wasn’t brought up just to complain about something I might not want.  I was raised to consider not only how I feel personally about choices, like wearing a mask, but also about the greater good.

Like most, I read up on all this COVID-19 stuff before making my decision.  COVID-19 is not the ordinary flu.  It’s 100 times more contagious.  It’s 10 to 20 times more deadly.  Recent studies show masks are so essential to stopping the spread and saving lives – there’s an Omni Calculator designed by two graduates in epidemiology that tells us what would happen, depending on how many in our community wear masks.

This calculator reveals if we were all to wear masks in public and at large gatherings in just a two week period we’d each be responsible for keeping 20 other people from getting COVID-19 and save one human life.  If only 80% wear a mask in public (a more reasonable assumption) we will still cut transmission enough to safely open businesses and greatly reduce other’s long-term suffering and disability from this once in a lifetime virus.

More new, specific studies show local in the Bullhead City area if we all do our part and wear masks indoors or while in crowds we can keep as much as 50% of our population who are vulnerable from having to be hospitalized with COVID-19.  And it’s only until a proven vaccine is provided.

My dad’s advice when I chose to work weekends long ago was “all important choices have consequences, kid”.

Here, the consequences far outweigh the disadvantages because saving even one life in two weeks is mighty powerful (masks lessen the virus particles people are exposed to so the dose is minimized), while also making businesses less susceptible to hot-spot shutdowns.

Just like when I gave up horseback riding to earn that extra needed cash back then, there are some who chose to do what’s easier.  But I know now that our personal choices – be it working instead of playing or wearing a mask during highly infectious time – is not about fighting for our rights, it’s about doing the right thing.  Thanks to all who care enough to slow the COVID-19 spread, save lives and protect our economy – by simply wearing masks in public.

Rebecca Highstreet, Mohave Valley

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