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It’s not too late to mask up and save lives

soleg/Getty Images A teenage boy wearing a surgical face mask outdoors
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: Wearing a mask in public seems like a small sacrifice.
Wearing a face mask in public can prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s unbelievable that more than six months into the coronavirus pandemic, 35% of the population in this country are still not wearing face masks in public, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are one of those people, what are you thinking?

Those who don’t wear masks say they don’t like wearing masks. Well nobody does! But when you look at all that we have been through this year, wearing a face mask in public seems like a small sacrifice.

According to researchers, masks unquestionably reduce the spread of droplets from the nose and mouth. A study concluded that the odds of getting coronavirus are reduced by 78% when properly wearing a mask. Make sure the mask fits right, has two or more layers, and covers your nose, mouth and chin.

Masks prevent transmission from people who don’t know they’re sick. It takes an average of five days, and sometimes up to 14 days, for people infected with the coronavirus to show symptoms. According to the CDC, nearly half of all people who develop the coronavirus are infected by people who do not show any symptoms. If those asymptomatic people wore masks, they could prevent spreading the disease.

I hate that wearing a mask has become a political statement, with the unmasked preferring their “freedom” over Grandma’s life. How is it any different to wear a mask than to wear a seatbelt? Those who see it as an attack on their individual freedom also believe it is unpatriotic to wear a mask. I can’t think of anything more patriotic this year than wearing a mask. Not only are you protecting your own life, you are preventing your family, friends, neighbors and even people you don’t know from getting the coronavirus.

Wearing masks could help the economy. It seems the ones who complain the most about closing down schools, restaurants, bars and other businesses are the ones who don’t wear face masks.

On Labor Day, 190,000 deaths were reported in the U.S. due to the coronavirus. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that coronavirus will kill 410,000 people in the U.S. by Jan. 1. But experts say if 95% of the U.S. population would wear masks in public and maintain social distancing, 121,000 fewer people would die. That’s the equivalent of every man, woman and child living in the Wisconsin cities of Green Bay (104,057) and Beaver Dam (16,243) combined.

If you could help save the lives of 121,000 people between now and Jan. 1 by simply wearing a face mask, why wouldn’t you? Mask up! The life you save may be your own.

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