Monday, January 18, 2021
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The Villages

Let’s demand a mask mandate

Jay Kaplan

If we had listened to the scientists and worn masks and/or stayed 6 feet apart when we heard of this as a possible solution to the virus, would the virus still be around?  IMHO, No, it would not.  Of course that makes the assumption that at least 90% of the country strictly adhered to those guidelines.  Well, that did not happen and look at where we are now: 150 thousand, 160 thousand, 184 thousand, 171 thousand cases a day this past seven days—while we were seeing around 40 thousand cases during the summer. Additionally, the daily number of deaths attributed to COVID is rising again.

Isn’t it obvious that what we have been doing for 9 months is not working.  We hear that vaccines will be coming in the latter part of the year or early next year.  That’s great, but we need to do something NOW to reduce the spread of COVID.  It’s simple, just make the wearing of masks in public places MANDATORY. 

OK, I hear what you’re saying: Another Anti-Trumper.  Not true!  I voted for President Trump in 2016 and this year. I also sent emails to The Republican Party, The White House and The Trump Campaign urging the President to mandate the wearing of masks.

If 85 to 90 percent of our population had begun masking and distancing immediately, it’s conceivable that there won’t even be a need for the vaccine for many of us. For proof, Google: Taiwan COVID-19. Many of the people who are opposed to this measure feel that we are taking away their right to free choice. Well, when that free choice puts other people in danger, isn’t the slight inconvenience worth it?  There are many things we all must do for the safety of others. When smoking became prohibited in public places, some smokers claimed that their rights were being taken away. They had no concern that their smoking is harmful not only to them but also harmful to non-smokers. I’m not advocating the wearing of masks forever but, for a few months until this pandemic is over, we can handle it.

There is a misconception by many who believe that the masks are to protect the wearer. Although a mask has been shown to afford a degree of protection to the wearer, its main purpose is to protect other people FROM the wearer. The basic problem is that although a person may have no symptoms of COVID, they may still have the virus. Some of these people may never actually suffer symptoms and are just carriers, while most will show some signs 5-14 days after they first contacted COVID.  In that period of time, without masking and distancing, think of all the people they could have transferred the virus to.  If those transferees also refused to distance and mask, the likelihood is that a very large number of people in their circle will come down with the virus.

We are now beginning our tenth month of dealing with a disease that probably could have been contained by July or August.  We are now worse off than we were in mid March. Thirty-seven states (and numerous counties and municipalities) have faced reality and adopted a mandatory mask policy. Shouldn’t Florida (or in the absence of state action, our counties) have one also? I don’t want to see a shutdown as some have suggested. Mandating mask wearing is a small sacrifice for a short period of time in order to reduce and finally eliminate COVID.

In addition to mask wearing and distancing, there is something that we all can do to help stop this virus now!  We should take a few minutes and contact our state and county representatives and let them know that mandatory mask wearing is something that we are willing to do to eliminate this virus that is killing so many of our fellow citizens.  You can call Gov. Ron DeSantis at (850) 488-7146, Sen. Dennis Baxley at (352) 750-3133 and Rep. Brett Hage at (352) 315-4445.  The phone numbers and/or email addresses for the commissioners in Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties can be found at the county websites. 

Jay Kaplan is a resident of the Village of Sabal Chase.

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