For the publisher:
There was something wrong with the front page photo of the Pike County Courier from September 10-16. The six smiling faces who attended the school board meeting on September 8 looked smug. Perhaps it was their T-shirts that loudly asserted their position without any possibility of compromise: “No masks, no contract tracing, no vaccine, NO FEAR.” On top of each of these T-shirts was a smiling face. I am happy for them. Truly. Happy Covid has not touched their lives, unlike the 660,000 Americans who lost theirs to this virus.
The thing I’m unhappy with is that all six are missing the biggest problem. We don’t wear masks to protect ourselves. We wear masks to prevent the spread of a virus which, unlike the flu or the common cold, has no set rules. No precise list of symptoms. It can leave you feeling tired and listless for a few days, keeping you from being powerless on a fan or six feet under. This virus has a capricious character that the modern world has never seen. He attacks those who are healthy and unhealthy, old and young with such a cavalier attitude that, frankly, I’m afraid of him. I don’t wish this virus on myself, my family, my friends, my community, or the strangers I sit next to on the subway.
Yes, I travel to New York for work and when I return home to Pike County where the numbers are considerably lower, I take every precaution. I am vaccinated, I mask myself, socially distance myself and get tested regularly. Why am I doing all this? Because unlike the people in this room who have not so casually demanded no mask warrants for our children or for the teachers and staff that we pay with our tax money to teach them, I want to ensure safety. of my fellow citizens. It is the morally correct thing to do.
It is not about infringing on someone’s social freedoms or religious beliefs. It’s about stepping up and doing what’s right and right to protect your fellow citizens. So to those in this room setting there in your funny T-shirts, may you never be asymptomatic and pass the virus on to someone else who ends up hospitalized because wearing a mask was just too inconvenient for you. But since you are also against tracing contracts, you can live blindly without guilt. By taking the cowardly path, you will never know to whom you have inadvertently transmitted the virus that can kill them in the name of preserving your so-called freedom.
The needs of one always take precedence over the needs of the many. Hospital workers are being exhausted by experienced doctors and nurses retiring at higher rates than ever before. If nothing else, we have to help them to be able to help us. One tool in our toolbox as ordinary citizens is to put on a mask. It’s so easy and such a small sacrifice on our part.
For over a year, families have mourned the loss of loved ones. For those who survive, many will need care later. We can expect healthcare costs to increase dramatically as these Covid survivors age and fight long-term damage to their heart, lungs or brain. I pray that we can afford to take care of all these Americans. It is a huge financial burden that we are passing on to the next generation of citizens of this country.
Our children – our future teachers, caregivers, social workers, nurses and doctors, our future leaders, artists, scientists, engineers and dreamers – are falling behind because some refuse to allow them to go to school in masks. Seriously? Do you hear how selfish it sounds? How incredible is it short sighted? So go home and do what you want. Oh and wash those T-shirts. May they shrink down to an inch of themselves. Because that’s really how small you are, both in spirit and in stature.
Pamela Vander Zwan