a dear friend friend of mine teaches morality to sophomores in a catholic school. in class discussions, a recurring theme is consequences to our actions. what we do has positive/bad consequences or negative/good consequences. these actions/consequences shape us individually and as a society. we all know this but few of us reflect deeply on this dynamic. we all need to grow in how our behaviors shape us and affect the lives of others.
in the news, i heard a man at a protest at the state capital say that forcing him to wear a mask is against his constitutional rights as an individual; the governor has no right to mandate wearing masks in public. the feeling i got from him was: do not tell me what to do and that his rights are more important than the lives of others. the consequences of this short-sightedness is a type of selfishness: not caring what happens to others because of my behavior. to talk about rights apart from responsibilities gives us only a partial picture of moral questions. (but that is another post for another time)
wearing a mask minimizes spreading the coronavirus if the wearer has the virus. the challenge now is all the asymptomatic people. it especially troubles me because now three of the largest states– texas, florida and california– are seeing spikes in the number of people who have the virus. many people in these states are refusing to wear masks: the consequences will be more deaths and family heartache; a run on hospital beds and ICUs; new lockdowns on us all.
in the next three months, 33,000 lives can be saved if we change our behaviors. in particular, wearing masks in public:
Researchers behind a model that has been cited by the White House predict that more than 179,000 people in the U.S. will die from the coronavirus by the start of October. That number drops to just over 146,000 fatalities if at least 95% of people wear masks in public.
“There is no doubt that even as states open up, the United States is still grappling with a large epidemic on a course to increase beginning in late August and intensifying in September,” Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50 percent, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.”
in the us, we have seen 126,000 deaths since march; we WILL see 53,000 in the next three months. if we do not wear masks there will be 33,000 MORE deaths. stop and think about that for a moment– it boggles my mind that we choose not to wear masks in public.
more death is the consequence
i pray the Lord help and guide us with the graces to persevere together in this pandemic. i pray healing on those who have the virus and are in hospitals. i pray strength on nurses and doctors on the frontlines. i pray consolation on families who have lost a loved one to covid19. i pray the Lord’s mercy on us all in the hurt and death to our sisters and brothers because of our selfishness.
Amen on that Fr Art