Editorial: It's time to start wearing masks

  • Courtesy of Office Mayor Eric Garcetti via ApLos Angeles Mayor Garcetti puts on a protective face mask during his daily news conference Wednesday. Garcetti urged the city's 4 million people to wear masks when going outside.

    Courtesy of Office Mayor Eric Garcetti via ApLos Angeles Mayor Garcetti puts on a protective face mask during his daily news conference Wednesday. Garcetti urged the city's 4 million people to wear masks when going outside.

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 4/5/2020 8:44 AM

Eventually we all will emerge from our homes.

It's hard to predict when that will be. It could be in weeks. It could be in months. But almost certainly, it will be before a vaccine has been produced, tested and in such common use that it protects us all from COVID-19.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Imagine what that's going to feel like when you step onto the street again.

Going to take a while to get the confidence back in your stride, don't you think? And for good reason. We've been through a lot already, and we'll have been through even more by then. And only so much herd immunity will have been created.

Seems obvious to us that we'll need some support, and not just for our psyche. We'll need support to lower our risk.

Masks. There are countries where the people don't go outside, don't shop at the grocery, don't pass on the street, without wearing a face mask.

We should be one of them.

Please understand. The medical community and first responders come first. We're not advocating that the public compete for N95 masks that are vitally needed by the front lines of our defense against the novel coronavirus.

But masks are important tools to help protect us from spreading this disease.

A mask may not have absolute effect in helping protect those who wear one. But it does help stop someone who is infected and doesn't know it from passing the virus along.

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However: Voluntary doesn't work unless everybody volunteers.

For the masks to be effective in significantly reducing the spread of the disease, everyone needs to wear one. That's how the herd, at this stage at least, provides all of us with protection.

We're not going to come out of our homes just yet. It'll be another month at the earliest. But some people do work in essential jobs. And most of us do go out on occasion, whether it's to buy groceries, get some exercise, pick up a prescription or a carryout meal.

Put on a mask when you do. Put on disposable gloves too. Do the research to wear them right.

Do it now. Not after the lockdown is lifted. Now. It'll provide a little protective edge.

But more importantly, it'll make it second nature once the lockdown ends. And by wearing these things now, it will make it less awkward for your neighbors to do the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And that's the key.

This is common sense, but it only makes sense if everyone takes part. We all need to do this. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

Eventually we all will emerge from our homes.

Let's start practicing now.

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