Wear a mask, dammit.

Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.

Yes, wearing a face mask is an infringement of your liberty. Get over it.

Public health is where our personal rights and those of the rest of society clash. But no one is telling you to wear a mask for you. It’s for the rest of us.

Unless you can get your hands on an N95 mask and properly wear it, you get little protection from wearing a mask. But we do. That’s because your breath is filtered by even a few layers of cotton cloth, preventing tiny droplets that could carry the coronavirus from you to us. (By the way, it needs to cover both your mouth and nose — at the same time.) It’s really all about the rest of us.

Wearing a mask is part of living in society — you know, trying not to fart on an elevator, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, saying “please” and “thank you.” Were you raised by monkeys? Didn’t your mother teach you to respect others? If you care nothing about others and want to be a sociopath, consider this:

It’s also all about you. Unless you have a death wish (and if you do, there are more effective methods than a virus), you should insist that everyone wear a mask. If others don’t, then you are likelier to get the disease.

By the way, this is not the flu. It’s much more lethal. Survivors tend to have lasting, even permanent, damage to organ systems like their lungs and hearts. This is a wicked, wicked virus. If you have it, you probably don’t know it. That’s what asymptomatic means. No symptoms, you feel fine. But you cannot guarantee that you are virus free.

But you counter, you are an American — endowed with life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Well, by not wearing a mask you are infringing on that first part. There’s a reason it comes first — the other rights are contingent upon it. If you’re dead, liberty and happiness are off the table.

You can deny science all you want, it does not care. The virus will continue to spread, maim, and kill to its biological limit — meaning all human beings. It does not respect you, borders, or your politics. But it does respect masks and distance.

Wear a mask, dammit.

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David Potenziani

Historian, informatician, novelist, and grandfather. Part-time curmugdeon.