Masks in Baseball

Sun shines off a bottle of hand sanitizer while RBI players sport masks as they sit in the dugout during a game against Hockinson Wednesday evening in Winlock.

Coronavirus cases in Lewis County have doubled in the past two weeks, but I’m not surprised. Only a small percentage of people here have been wearing masks in public.

Why should they? President Donald Trump doesn’t. Neither does Lewis County Commissioner Bobby Jackson, who cited a medical issue and indicated others can do the same.

And after Governor Jay Inslee last week issued a statewide public mask mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19, Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza told a group of 300 people gathered to defend the Hamilton billboard “Don’t be a sheep.”

Snaza’s comment propelled Lewis County into national headlines. We even made the Washington Post after our chief law enforcement officer advised citizens to in effect break the law.

I don’t expect law enforcement officers to arrest or cite people with a misdemeanor for not wearing masks. They have plenty of felons to catch and crimes to solve.

Those opposing Inslee’s mask mandate insist it’s a violation of their rights. It takes away their choice.

But so does the seatbelt law and the motorcycle helmet law. So do speed limits.

They see the mask mandate as another example of the nanny state imposing laws that trample on personal freedoms.

However, with freedom comes responsibility.

Is it the government’s responsibility to protect the public health and safety? Yes.

Since early April the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone wear a mask in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. We wouldn’t need a mandate if people voluntarily wore masks.

But many won’t, despite repeated recommendations from the CDC, top epidemiologists, and finally last weekend, even the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

It’s fascinating to see the contortions people go through to prove the dangers of wearing masks. Facebook is filled with so-called experts — a doctor here, a nurse there — touting those dangers.

It’s not easy for some people to wear masks while exerting themselves. I found it especially difficult while climbing a hill during a walk with a friend. I stopped on the other side of the road and lifted the mask briefly to breathe better. Then I continued the uphill trudge.

But if it protects my friend from a virus I may not know I have, it’s worth it.

Could I refuse to wear the mask? Of course. I’d even qualify for a medical excuse as I was diagnosed 25 years ago with Samter’s Triad, also known as Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease. The triad consists of asthma, aspirin allergy, and nasal polyps. I’ve undergone four sinus surgeries since 1995 to remove polyps that keep growing back. At times I find it tough to breathe.

But my temporary discomfort pales when compared with the possibility that I might inadvertently infect another person, someone who may visit a grandmother or grandfather, an elderly World War II, Korean or Vietnam veteran, a friend undergoing cancer treatment.

The shutdown of schools, businesses, churches and public venues earlier this year hurt so many — economically, emotionally, spiritually. It’s heartbreaking to see the spike of deaths locally in suicides and methamphetamine overdoses as people grapple with depression, despair and ongoing divisiveness over politics, race, and yes, masks.

Now Inslee has paused reopening in Washington, and as cases increase, without social distancing and mask wearing, we may see more restrictions imposed.

I realize the increase in positive COVID-19 cases locally represents only a tiny fraction of the county’s population. Three people have died in Lewis County, 1,311 in Washington, 125,000 in the United States, 500,000 worldwide.

How many people must die of coronavirus in this county before some people consider it consequential enough to wear masks, which have proven to be an effective deterrent in spreading the disease?

I believe in protecting lives — black, brown, white, elderly, children, young adults, unborn babies — and wearing a mask is a simple way to do so.

The Pollyanna in me wishes everyone would just band together for the greater good to rein in the spread of coronavirus.

It could have happened under better leadership, especially in the White House.

•••

Julie McDonald, a personal historian from Toledo, may be reached at memoirs@chaptersoflife.com

 

(7) comments

I Got Nuthin'

Not wearing a mask is not your right. There is a state mandate and those who are violating the mandate should be fined at a minimum. Lewis County Commissioner Bobby Jackson should either provide concrete proof of his "medical issue" or resign. Now, more than ever we need our elected leaders to lead by example.

Sandra Anderson

Thanks, Julie. Well said! Sometimes I am so proud of the fierecely conservation community I grew up in, but this is not one of those times. In a county were there are a high percentage of elderly residents, there needs to be more common sense and cooperation around masks. Masks are not a political football, folks! Its about science and common courtesy.

Teven

This virus will not go away with people staying home or constantly wearing masks; it will only weaken your immunity system. And most of these masks seen around the Twin Cities are worthless (see pic above) and stop nothing or prevent anything and a lot of people don't even cover their nose.

Herd immunity among the Healthy population is the only thing that will burn the virus out and that will not happen if healthy people remain hermetically sealed from each other. The only time we should be wearing masks is when we go into hospitals, Nursing homes, Long term health care facilities, or if you are visiting someone who has a compromised health issue. The 98% of us that will survive the virus need to just go about our daily lives. BTW, the 2 weeks to slow the spread was back in Mid-March and that is what it was designed to do, slow the spread; not eliminate the virus. But hey, if it makes you feel good to "virtue signal", by all means wear a mask.

Citizen1956

Are you a virologist Teven? Are you an immunologist? Never mind-- I know the answer by your statements-- clearly you do NOT know what you are talking about. Herd immunity to a virus with low lethality rate is a reasonably practical approach. Herd immunity to a virus which kills >1% means that many more people will die in order to achieve it that -- and that is dependent on this virus staying genomically stable and not mutating to become more lethal. A virus is not alive-- and it needs a host. If you do not provide a host-- meaning a person here inn Lewis County-- that virus cannot replicate. One way to deny the virus a host is to deny them the chance to infect-- and this is accomplished by keeping people socially distanced, wearing masks to prevent aerosol/droplets from infecting people and by using hygiene practices ie, washing your hands and keeping your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes. Oh wait-- these are the recommendations from people who actually know what they are talking about. You are willing for people to die so that you can pretend you know what you are talking about. You don't. It is not a "virtue signal", it is simply the responsible and moral thing to do.

1Skeptic2

1. Studies from China - if they can be trusted - indicate CV antibodies stay in the bloodstream for an extraordinarily short time. If the virus itself doesn’t transfer future immunity, how is a vaccine even possible?

2. There is no known “cure.” Therapeutic options are very limited.

3. CV appears to be highly contagious.

4. CV _might_ “burn itself out”; how long are we willing to wait? Is it reasonable to require all of us to spend the rest of our natural lives wearing masks everywhere?

Teven

Funny how a Woman from Toledo, WA and all of you commenting on my post are now medical "experts" on a virus' and wearing masks 😊

I'm not sure if the now Leftist controlled Chronicle will allow me posting links to the New England Journal of Medicine, but this is a paragraph contributed by MULTIPLE M.D's, MPH's, MBA's, R.N's, and Phd's on wearing masks is far more convincing and factual than a personal historian from Toledo, WA:

"We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic"

But hey, if wearing a mask makes you feel better, rock on and keep Virtue Signaling 😊

Citizen1956

Teven, Tevven, Teven...did you think no one would look up that article? I'll bet you one "Virtue Signaling' for 10 "Ignorance Signaling" that you thought no one would-- I'll bet you pulled that quote off some FB page and just cut and pasted without reading the whole piece. That was an opinion article in the NEJM-- not a research article. And--you took it out of context. And-- it was printed rather early on in the pandemic-- April 1st. And-- it was about universal masking in hospitals without using other, even more basic hygiene techniques, not about asymptomatic people walking about in a local grocery store potentially infecting others. And-- it was published before we knew a whole lot about asymptomatic carriers. And--I am a healthcare professional and won't let ignorance go unanswered anymore because you know what-- people will die if they believe you and I see colleagues putting their lives at risk everyday while people like you increase their risks. Thankfully, more and more are using masks and it is becoming clear that those who resist are just advertising themselves as not giving a darn about others and are simply ignorant and selfish individuals who will put everyone at higher risk to prove some imagined "leftist" plot. (Drink or inject any bleach lately?) Here's the link: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372. I can give you many, many more links to research articles providing reams of evidence on how mask wearing by the general population decreases transmission. But-- all you really have to do is compare the infection rates in this country to those in Europe and Asia--nations that are doing much better than this country is.(Can you say New Zealand? Korea? The EU?)We are #1 in deaths and new infections. Why are other countries handling this pandemic so much better? Because their leaders listened to the science and followed the recommendations of those who actually knew what they were talking about after years of study and not some self-proclaimed FB "expert" or an ignorant politician who thinks somehow their rights are being infringed, they might get more votes, or that a local newspaper had suddenly become "Leftist" (WHAT??) or that viruses miraculously disappear...(poof!!)...or that putting in a quote from an older opinion piece that had little to do with the topic will convince us that you are wise and knowledgeable. You are not. Facts, Teven, really do matter a heck of alot more than your uninformed opinion.

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