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Bellefonte mask ordinance

MICHAEL PRENDERGAST

Bellefonte

We know that COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. We know that it is spread through droplets and aerosolized particles produced when an infected person speaks, coughs, sneezes, etc. We also know that asymptomatic people (people who don’t even know they are infected) can spread this disease.

Further, we know that until we get a safe and effective vaccine, the only tools we have to fight this disease are testing (which isn’t widely available in this area), hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks.

The State College/Penn State area has had a spike of over 200 cases in the past couple of week. We have people who work “up the college” and commute daily. So far, Bellefonte has been extremely lucking in that we have not had many infections to this point, but we are deluding ourselves, if we think that the virus isn’t coming our way. It’s a question of keeping it away long enough to get a vaccine.

The purpose of wearing a mask is not to protect the wearer, but to protect others around the wearer (who may have been infected and not know it) from passing it on to them. A doctor doesn’t wear a mask into the operating room to protect him/her from catching something from the patient, but from passing something to the patient. Since one of the tools to slow (it can’t prevent) the spread of the virus is wearing a mask, it seems to me to be, not only inconsiderate, but irresponsible to refuse to wear one.

I’ve heard the comment that “it infringes on my rights.” I was not aware that there has ever been a “right” to spread disease. Is it in the First Amendment or anywhere in the Constitution for that matter? Even if it were, all rights have their limits, simplistically; you can shout “FIRE” in a crowded movie theatre.

People say they don’t want to wear a mask because “it’s uncomfortable.”

The truth is, nobody wants to wear a mask! We wear a mask so we don’t get other people sick!

Adults do things that are uncomfortable to help other people (I can’t imagine it’s “comfortable” putting on firefighting equipment and running into a burning building, or pulling someone out of a wrecked car), but we are somewhat responsible for other people and I would hope we aren’t trying to actively spread disease.

As to the need for the proposed mask ordinance, everyone would like to get things back to a certain level of normality.

We can do that if everyone would wear a mask when they can’t be at least 6 feet apart. If we all wear the stupid mask, we wouldn’t need an ordinance to encourage people to be responsible.

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