The smartest voices among us are from those calling for continued wearing of face masks in public. In combination with regular hand washing and social distancing, health care experts from the local level to the Centers for Disease Control say having one on helps slow the spread of COVID-19 disease infection.

Covering the mouth and nose with a particulate filtering mask, disposable surgical mask or even a homemade cloth mask, they say, can help filter out germ-riddled respiratory droplets naturally emitted as we breathe and speak. The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through these tiny moisture droplets.

Some voices out there are of those shaming others for wearing a mask.

It isn’t an act of patriotism or an expression of personal freedom to ridicule someone for taking a personal precaution to protect not only themselves but possibly others. It’s the irresponsible and antisocial act of a bully.

In a recent edition of the newspaper, reporter Andrew Critchelow shared how his wife was shamed by two male customers for wearing a protective mask as she shopped inside a local pharmacy. The verbal mocking isn’t unique.

This belittling and undignified behavior unfortunately is happening everywhere. It needs to stop.

Perhaps you’ve received a nasty remark or had a scornful finger wagged your way while wearing your own protective face covering. We hope you aren’t one of the bullies deriding someone else for wearing one.

By now it should be common knowledge COVID-19 can be spread far and wide by people who are contagious but aren’t yet feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of the illness. Based on the latest data available, the CDC estimates upwards of 80 percent of coronavirus infection cases involve no to very mild symptoms.

That means there are many carriers in public, especially now that containment restrictions are being dialed back.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to stop the coronavirus in its tracks. With more than 100,000 deaths attributed to the disease and our economy staggering because of it, we each need to be doing all we can to fight its spread until a vaccine is developed. It is disturbing to think someone might purposefully want to put others in danger of contracting a potentially lethal illness for no reason other than to make a misguided political statement.

Taking steps to protect oneself and others by wearing a mask while in public is an action that should be appreciated by others, not something that draws ire and verbal attack.

Choosing not to put one on in public is a personal decision. If you choose not to, do the rest of society a favor and keep your mouth shut.

People acting responsibly don’t need your germs or your insults coming their way.

This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

(2) comments




Masks go a long way toward reducing transmission. Initially I found my homemade mask uncomfortable but was able later to locate masks that were better made and better fitting. They are not completely comfortable but it is important to wear them. Hardin County has been lucky in terms of numbers but we have been under a lockdown and we have begun to.see an increase in hospitalizations so it is something to keep our eye on. I have not been mocked yet for wearing one but there have been some disturbing incidents on at least one residential street - anti-maskers stepping off the sidewalk and coming close to slowly passing cars. Doing this creates a hazard. In other circumstances exercise your right not to wear a mask if it pleases you but please respect others and maintain a distance of 6 feet.

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