Uh, Not the Flu

As of yesterday, face coverings are required in public in Salt Lake County where our new home town of South Jordan is located and, perhaps surprisingly, when I went to the store today, virtually everyone had on a mask. That, dear readers, is good for Oldereyes’ disposition. Watching more than half of the people in our local stores wander around maskless (and clueless) as the COVID-19 cases surged in Utah was making me crazy because, you see, I am 76 years old, mildly diabetic and mildly asthmatic, which puts me on the edge of the coronavirus’ favorite victim-group. And as anyone with the sense to listen to the news should know, wearing a mask primarily protects OTHERS, so a decision not to wear a mask is not about your rights to choose but your right to infect other people. I wish there were some way to get that through the thick skulls of the idiots that were protesting against wearing masks outside the capitol today but a lobotomy is probably a surer thing.

This post is for those who choose not to wear a mask for what they think are good reasons and specifically for those who believe this: COVID-19 is just like the flu … we don’t all go around wearing masks or shutting everything down every year for the flu season. I’d like you to stop saying that because COVID-19 is Uh, Not the Flu. I put together the chart below from information on two CDC webpages (Deaths and Mortality for 2017 and Coronavirus Statistics). It compares the number of COVID-19 cases so far this year to the leading causes of death in 2017 in the US. Here we are halfway through the year and it is already the sixth (nearly fifth) cause of death. And if COVID-19 were to continue to spread at the same rate for the rest of the year, it would be the third leading cause of death in the US. If you knew wearing a mask would dramatically deaths reduce due to diabetes, stroke and Alzheimers, wouldn’t you wear one?

No? You’re young and those diseases don’t affect you either? Then perhaps you are a graduate of the Donald Trump School of Compassion. I’m not talking to you. And if you think this is part of a vast conspiracy or Fake News or that if we just stop testing it will go away, well, I’m not talking to you either. Your bubbles are impenetrable anyway. But if you are going around thinking This is Just Like the Flu, take a look at the chart again. If we don’t get this under control, COVID-19 could be challenging cancer for second place by the end of the year and This is Just Like Cancer isn’t very inspiring. Please. Join me in wearing a mask when in public and practicing social distancing. The life we save may be yours. Or mine. Or that of someone you love.

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