No one listens, learns, or changes their mind when they are being attacked. As healers, we know this. We deal with patients and families all the time who don’t understand or are so traumatized that the last thing we would think of doing is yelling at them as we try to help them on their journey to health.
We’ve all seen the videos of mobs of people without masks rushing to get to the front of a crowd to hear @realDonaldTrump. We’ve all seen the photos of people in crowds at bars, parties, and on college campuses with no one wearing masks. If you are tempted to think this is ok, I have two things I’d like to share…
It’s not about you.
I totally agree that, as an adult, if you want to not wear a seatbelt, you have that right. But you don’t have the right to drive drunk and kill or injure someone else. If you want to drive 80 miles an hour on your ranch and ignore safety, go for it! But if you want to speed and run stop signs on our shared roads, that’s not ok. Why? Because the person you hit with your car could be a family member or friend… and they will unquestionably be a neighbor (because we are all neighbors).
Masks are about compassion.
If you come down with COVID19, it’s also not just about you. If you do get sick with COVID19 (and I hope you don’t), it’s not about “getting over it” like a cold. You could have a lifetime of consequences… but if it was just about you, that would be your choice. But that’s not how this works. If you are COVID19 positive (with or without symptoms), you can infect your elderly family member, the kid next door who is on chemotherapy for cancer, the nurse who takes care of you when you go, frightened and alone (since no one will be allowed to stay with you), to the hospital.
Since my new friend on Twitter asked me about the science, I’m happy to help with some of what we know:
- Masks decrease the spread of COVID19 in a community.
- Masks do not cause low oxygen levels.
- Masks do not cause an increase in carbon dioxide.
- COVID can be spread for up to 6 days before you develop symptoms.
- There are people who have the virus, can spread it to others, but never develop symptoms.
- The virus is small, but it travels on droplets (that’s how others get infected) – and that’s why masks work. (That’s also why it’s not cool to put on masks made of lace, gauze or other things with holes)
- We can’t rely on herd immunity, unless we think its ok to have up to 2 million dead Americans.
p.s. I changed how I interact with folks on social media after I listened to Nadia Bolz Weber’s interview with Megan Phelps-Roper on her podcast, The Confessional. Megan Phelps-Roper was a member of the Westboro Baptist Church who became the voice of her family on Twitter, spreading their particularly venomous message. But a funny thing happened … there were people on Twitter who, instead of yelling at her, responded to her venom with compassion and curiosity… and it changed her life.