Why does the U.S., with only 5 percent of the world’s population, have 25 percent of the COVID-19 cases and 25 percent of the deaths? Except for the early start in China, as the virus raced around the globe the entire world experienced the outbreaks at the same time. Since then Asian and European countries have had enough decrease in cases to cautiously open their societies. If these countries experience another increase they immediately put protocols in place to contain the virus.

Why were these countries able to dramatically lower their case numbers while our numbers continue to increase? Is it because their citizens accepted the medical advice, wore masks, stayed home and socially distanced? Was it their government’s testing and tracing? Is it because of a concern for their fellow citizens that Americans may lack? Or is the reason that we were encouraged to disregard the science and even ignore the government guidelines? The administration is still urging us to ignore the potency of this virus as we approach a death toll of 130,000.

In Pennsylvania we’re adding 500 (plus or minus) cases of COVID-19 every day. We’re up to 86,000 cases. Will our schools be able to open in the fall? How far behind academically have our kids fallen by losing the last 2 1/2 months of school this spring? This summer they’ve missed out on socialization and physical activity at the playgrounds and swimming pools.

The medical specialists have constantly told us, “I wear a mask not to protect me but to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me.” What a cheap simple way to get our caseload down — everybody wear a mask. Do the people who refuse to wear a mask think about what kids are being denied, the extra exposure to our medical personnel, the financial costs of caring for these patients, and the people who died before their time (not all of the deaths are old people)? Is that why every country besides the U.S. and Brazil has dramatically falling infections — because their citizens respect each other enough to wear a mask?

Some non-mask wearers, when interviewed on TV, have said, “Nobody is going to tell me what to do.” Well, Mr. and Mrs. Nobody Is Going To Tell Me What To Do, if you choose to not buckle up in your car, you’re endangering yourself. When you choose to drive under the influence you’re putting everyone else on the road at risk. If you choose to smoke it’s your lungs. If you choose to smoke in a bar or restaurant you’re affecting everyone in the enclosed space. And if you choose to not wear a mask in public you may be unknowingly contributing to the COVID-19 spread.

Couldn’t you, for the sake of our children, wear a mask? We’ve got two months to get the cases down before school should start. If you still refuse, then, in my opinion, you are self-centered.

Even Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have pleaded, “Wear a mask!”

Lana Gulden lives in Northumberland.




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