It’s disappointing to see the often casual ways people in public are dealing with the virus. For far too many in these parts, it seems like the attitude is “Hey, man, no problem. I’m not sick. Let’s party.” Even among the more reserved there seems to be little agreement about the value of wearing a mask out on the street. From what I’ve seen, about a quarter of the folks out there are maskless. At the same time, our Sonoma County Health Officer told Sonoma West that the number of infections “jumped significantly” in recent days.
What’s going on, I wonder. Is the political divide really causing people to either wear a mask or emulate our barefaced national leader? I hope not, for if so, we humans have further to go toward sensible living than I would like to think.
Far as we know, everyone is susceptible to Covid 19. We’re not even sure those who have recovered from it are immune. Nor do we know who among us might be carrying the virus without being sick at all. And we know the virus can kill a significant percentage of those it infects. Among older folks, older starting around age 60 so far as this virus is concerned, as many as one in five who get infected die, depending on underlying conditions. Far as I can tell, almost all of us in this age group have underling conditions. And death might not be the worst of it. The virus can cause blood clots all over the body; it can weaken vital organs and make the rest of one’s days a terrible trial; and it appears to bring horrible illnesses to a small percentage of the children it infects.
Putting this all together, it’s crucial that we do what we can to avoid getting infected and to avoid infecting others. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance are the ways we do this. It’s that clear and that simple. But this doesn’t work unless virtually everyone does it. That’s what’s so disturbing about the haphazard pattern of masked and bare-faced folks interacting in public.
This new reality makes it especially hard on our business people. But if we want to help them, if we want to restore the economy, the best thing we can do is make sure we take all the precaution while shopping. We wear masks and stay safely apart.
Taking these simple precautions are the way we practice the Golden Rule in the time of Covid-19. I don’t want people infecting me just because they don’t want to wear a mask, and so I’m morally bound to wear a mask myself. And in this situation, the stakes are really high. Doing unto others as you would have others do unto you is a matter of life and death these days.
Bob Jones is the former minister of the Guerneville and Monte Rio Community Church.