What If I’m Wrong?

What If I’m Wrong?

So. . . Let’s assume I’m wrong.

Let’s assume that there is no need to wear a face covering when I’m outside in situations where I cannot practice safe physical distancing. Let’s assume that me wearing a mask to protect other people in case I’m infected with coronavirus and asymptomatic isn’t necessary.

Okay? Great.

Let’s further assume that I keep wearing the mask. Just in case. Or because I’m prone to worrying about things excessively. Or prone to overthinking stuff. What’s the end result of that?

Basically, the end result is that I wear a beautiful cloth face mask when I’m out in public and can’t practice safe physical distancing. Since I do tend to practice safe physical distancing, that means I don’t go out amongst people very often. Maybe a couple hours’ worth every week. A minor inconvenience at most.

Now, on the other hand. . .

Let’s assume I’m right. Wearing a mask is necessary to prevent the spread of the deadly, novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. If you’re infected and asymptomatic (which can happen in a large number of cases of infection), not wearing a mask in situations where you can’t maintain safe physical distancing means you could be a COVID Martin or COVID Mary.

Walking around in close proximity to other people while infected and asymptomatic and not wearing a mask means you could be spreading the novel coronavirus to people you don’t even know. If you infect one person, that person could go on to infect others. This virus is exceedingly contagious and it still is spreading across vast swathes of the United States.

This virus is killing people. If you walk around unmasked in places where you cannot practice safe physical distancing, and you’re infected and asymptomatic, the odds are good that your infection-spread tree will eventually contain a dead branch or two.

So here’s the deal: If I’m wrong, I end up wearing a cloth mask on my face for a couple hours a week and no one dies because I spread the virus. If I (and almost every single, reputable doctor, epidemiologist, scientist and public health official) am right, being unmasked in situations where you cannot practice safe physical distancing means there is a chance you will spread a deadly virus that has killed more than 75,000 Americans in less than four months.

Right or wrong, that’s a chance I’m not willing to take.

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