We continue to be 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 projected 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, then, 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, however, abundantly clear 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 as much as 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, and statistically that somewhere is someone who does not have symptoms and “feels fine I don’t see what the big deal is.”
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. Is is, borrowing from the governor here, our duty as Arkansans to wear a mask when in public.
Take a minute Monday, and we know you’re busy, and Monday being an off day there’s something to say about fun, but take a minute and just be quiet.
And in that quiet minute take the time to consider those who have fallen in defense of our country.
They deserve our honor, at least that, and that quiet moment Monday – an older tradition would be a church bell sounding at noon to commemorate that moment – is our chance to, quietly, thank them. It was the most they could possibly do, and it is the least we could do in their honor.
Hebrews 6:1-12 (NIV)
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case – the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.