High Points: Mask up! | AspenTimes.com

High Points: Mask up!

Paul E. Anna
High Points

So it’s no longer about me. It’s about you.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a nonpolitical, agnostic organization within our federal government, which is in charge of keeping the nation healthy, announced this week that wearing a mask can be beneficial in helping the wearer avoid or reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

That means that you wearing a mask helps you. And not just me.

I’m in the camp with those who feel that masks should have been mandated back in April, if not earlier. If they had done that, then we may have been short of masks, but at least people would have known that masks were an important component of stopping, or at least slowing, the transmission of the virus. But, as it happened, the use of masks became another dividing point among Americans and the result is a spread of the disease that will have deadly ramifications for thousands and economic blowback for millions.

That is not a political position, it is simply the facts. As of this week, over 60,000 Americans are hospitalized. A thousand people, give or take, are dying daily. Those figures, to me, are much more significant than the daily numbing numbers of new cases, because they represent the real cost of where we are with COVID.

Work has me traveling around the country recently and I have noticed the differences in places where people wear masks. In western Florida this week, folks would only have them on when forced to. On planes, where rules dictate masks at all times, and in airports, compliance was pretty high. There are still people who remove them to eat and drink and then linger with them off for extended times. But my experience seems to be that the majority of folks see the benefit of participation in mask wearing.

Here in our little Roaring Fork bubble we have been very good in our habits. I feel that we, as a community, for the most part have done a commendable job in doing the right things. But now is the most important time to double down on the things that can reduce the spread. Thanksgiving gatherings should be kept small with families the focus. Hands should be washed and an overflow of disinfectants should be the rule, not the exception.

And most importantly, wear a mask. According to the latest CDC documentation, “Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread” of the virus, and “individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.” This is a no brainer.

It’s not about protecting me. It’s about protecting you. Happy Thanksgiving.


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