Why mask wearing should not be political.
Person A works for retail corporate America as a store manager. Last week, one of the big bosses called a staff meeting at Person A’s store. The boss told the 8 employees “I’m not sick and wearing a mask is disrespectful.” Three days after the meeting, Boss becomes sick and tests positive for COVID. Doesn’t tell his employees in that staff meeting.
Person A woke up Sunday morning with some breathing difficulties, a sinus headache, stuffy nose, and muscle aches. Person A is 27, non-smoker, works out at the gym 5-6 days a week, eats healthy. The whole shebang. Person A finally gets in for a COVID test on Monday. It’s positive.
Person A is a single father raising a baby. He has a roommate, Person B, a 24-year old female, occasional smoker who works out 5 days a week or so, works at a daycare, and has a toddler. Immediately upon Person A getting their positive COVID test, Person B is told by her work, she can’t return to work until December 1, even if she doesn’t get sick herself. They entire household is wearing masks and walking around with bottles of hand sanitizer.
Person B does not have health insurance, nor does she get sick time or vacation time from her job, because it is not part of a chain daycare. It is an individual owned daycare that doesn’t offer benefits (which is pretty standard for non-corporate chain daycares like Kindercare). Unless Person B actually comes down with COVID, she will not be paid for any of her time off from November 11, 2020 until December 1, 2020. However, in the age of COVID, she does not have the option to return to work even if she never gets sick until her quarantine is over. Her concern, will she be able to afford her part of the rent and things in December. Nevermind, Christmas and things, that will have to be an afterthought if she has any money left after she is able to return to work. Worse, she now sorta hopes she gets COVID because then the state of Kansas will pay her to not go to work.
I asked the obvious question, are you going to get tested? At which point, I learned the test for someone without symptoms, just exposure is $200 where she is. Person B doesn’t have $200. So she won’t know if she’s infected and asymptomatic or what.
Furthermore last week, we learned a friend of ours who had COVID in late July has it again. The person in question had decided “I’ve had it, I’m immune why bother with the extra precautions of mask wearing when it isn’t mandatory.”
Unfortunately, both of these scenarios could have been avoided by mask wearing. Every time someone brings up COVID all they talk about are the deaths and I get it, they are important. But there is so much other stuff at stake, like a toddler’s Christmas and there are always unintended consequences to every decision. Is this the year Santa will forget to visit the toddler’s house because Mommy can’t afford Christmas or is this the year a toddler gets to have a serious discussion about finances and how Santa isn’t real, stuff he won’t understand, and for what? So someone wouldn’t be uncomfortable in a staff meeting for an hour? So before you decide to go without a mask ask yourself “Is my comfort more important than a toddler’s Christmas?” Nearly 75% of the US’s population lives paycheck to paycheck and just because you aren’t sick today, doesn’t mean you aren’t passing germs to a minimum wage worker without benefits who is going to be forced to stay home, possibly without pay for two weeks.