To mask or not to mask?

By: 
Jan Wann, On-line Editor

Are you serious? Are you really considering not to mask, even when it’s been mandated in Minnesota? I know it’s not the most comfortable, but I don’t find tight jeans or bathing suits very comfortable either, so I avoid them when possible.

But should we avoid wearing masks? I don’t think so and here’s why. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck back in March I think many of us were feeling it was something we read about in the newspaper or saw on the evening news. It happened to someone else. For weeks we would comment that we didn’t know anyone who had tested positive. It was a sort of “badge of honor.”

Then I received an email the end of June from my sister in Florida that changed things for us!

(Their son) “Jake and (her husband) Jon both had symptoms and tested positive as well. Jon spent a few hours at the hospital last night for fever we were having trouble reducing and to be tested. They gave him IV fluids, and a chest x-ray, which revealed a little pneumonia. I picked him up at 3 a.m. and he’s on a Z-pack for the pneumonia but fever is lower, he’s sleeping now, and we are quarantined for 2 weeks.”

Within a day she and their daughter-in-law had COVID-19 symptoms, fortunately not as severe.

So what has the month of July brought? A lot of prayers…and prayers…and more prayers! Our brother-in-law Jon is actually Rev. Jon. That’s right, he’s a Lutheran pastor in Florida who has very carefully been leading his flock during this pandemic. He’s the one we would call when we needed “extra, closer connections” to God. He always joked, “God loves everyone, He just likes me more!” So now we’ve been faced with reaching out to family and friends to include him in our prayers because he was hospitalized for 11 days, came home for four days and was taken by ambulance back to the hospital where he’s been for over a week. When they sat him in a chair the other day his description was “it kicked my butt so now we’re going to try just hanging my legs over the edge of the bed.” He has been on oxygen the whole month and remains in the hospital. Did I mention that he was a healthy male, with no underlying health conditions, in his early 60s? Was he being careless when he contracted the virus? Hardly. He ran an errand in the car with his son Jake, who later learned he had been exposed to the virus via a co-worker, who had been careless. So riding in the car together, without masks, suspected to be the culprit.

Back to my original question, are you seriously considering not to mask? This virus is not for the faint of heart…it’s serious stuff! I agree that masks are not convenient, but if you won’t wear one for yourself, please do it for those close to you. It could make a big-time difference in their future health!

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