Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat. The editorial board is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.

We are amazed, and troubled, at the lack of masks.

We are fortunate to live in Arkansas during these times. Because of the state’s low population density, when the first winds of the COVID-19 public health emergency blew the state was shut down only to a limited degree.

Gov. Hutchinson has pointed out several times now that the Arkansas economy was not shut down due to the pandemic. Things were throttled back, granted, places where people gather were closed, but on the whole the state’s economic engine, with modifications necessary for the current situation continued to run.

It worked. The infection peak for Arkansas was much lower than projected, and with it hospitalizations and number of patients on ventilators were all much lower than anticipated. Hooray for effective public health policy.

Now, that projected peak date being in the rear-view mirror, more things are opening, more places have gatherings. People, having done their part by staying home and keeping the infection number low, are getting out.

It’s been made abundantly clear, however, that the virus is still among us. It has been made equally clear that not infecting each other is every bit as important as it ever was. Certainly, if the economic engine is to get back up to speed in the least amount of time possible, it is imperative Arkansans pay attention to public health guidelines. Namely, we are expected to avoid crowds and, if we can not, to wear a mask.

Understand the mask requirement is not about you, not at all. You, we, wear a mask to keep us from spreading it. It is not the breathing in, it is the breathing out that is the issue.

Some interesting numbers: The most likely group for infection, according to the Department of Health, is the 25-44 age group. At the same time, the group most likely to die from infection is the 65 and over group. Adding that in Cummins Prison, site of one of the major infection peaks in the state, was found to be 60 percent asymptomatic of its infected population.

Take a step back from those numbers and consider that someone younger is likely to have it, is likely to not have symptoms, and someone older is likely to die of it. That older person had to catch it from somewhere.

For the want of a mask.

We, as a matter of policy, wear masks here. As such, we are equipped to make the following statement from experience: Wearing masks is not that hard. The numbers, economic and public health both, speak to something greater, that wearing a mask saves lives. It is, borrowing from the governor here, our duty as Arkansans to wear a mask when in public.

Thank you for giving, Conway

Seven local nonprofits partnered for a special Giving Tuesday to raise money to prevent families from becoming homeless during the pandemic.

Because of the generosity of the community, Conway Gives exceeded its goal – which was $35,000 – on May 5. As of Friday, more than $48,000 had been raised and 66 local families had already been assisted.

The Log Cabin Democrat commends the community for its spirit of giving during troubling times.

The fundraiser continues through the end of the month. People can donate to the Giving Tuesday campaign at conwaygives.com or by depositing money into the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Fund-Ministry Center account at First Security Bank.

To seek help from the fund, call the Conway Gives hotline at 501-358-6960.

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