Letter to the Editor

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Okay, about masks. If I’m going into a building that requires the wearing of face masks, I will wear one out of respect for those inside who need me to wear it. I will wear a mask at any dental or medical facility out of respect for those who are vulnerable and for those health care workers who work there. 

If I am in a home and the owner asks it of me, I will wear a mask out of respect for them. But in the midst of all this I think something is being forgotten (or ignored): Masks are not a permanent solution, but only a temporary Band-Aid. At some point, masks will have to come off as we cannot as a society function this way for a prolonged period of time. It is unsustainable. And as soon as the masks come off, the infection rate will go right back up! What then? Put on masks again? Masks only slow the spread of the virus and in the long run, prolong the “virus season.” Whenever you flatten the curve, you prolong the peak period. 

Unfortunately, the only way to stop a virus is for a population to build immunity to it, and this can only be done through 1) direct exposure where the body’s immune system then successfully fights off the virus, as will happen in the vast majority of cases, or 2) a vaccine is used which accomplishes the same thing: stimulating the body’s own immune system to resist the virus. 

Ironically, masks limit this exposure which in turn keeps the body from building immunity. This is why I believe mask should be used carefully and in specific situations, but not in a “one size fits all” as is currently being recommended by government and health authorities. 

I am not advocating that we just dump the wearing of masks and let nature take its course. We do need to be considerate of vulnerable populations, and situations that put them at risk. What I am questioning is the wearing of masks en masse, as is being ordered right now. I believe that this is counter-productive and will only prolong the pain our country is in. In the meantime, what will I do? I will do what I mentioned in the first three sentences above!


Lee Hoium