October 24, 2020

"Mask not what your country can do for you. Mask is what you can do for your country". Dan Rather

The big news is that the curve is rising again, especially in rural areas and the midwest. It was slow to arrive in many of those places. The motorcycle rally in South Dakota started it off, along with schools opening, college students returning, low amounts of mask wearing, and superspreader events related to campaign events. Even Alaska is having increased cases. Once younger people get Covid-19, it is just a matter of time before it spreads to older folks. Hospitalizations lag and deaths and suffering are sure to follow.

The pandemic is getting serious again as we head into winter. Even Dr. Fauci today suggested a possible nationwide mandate for wearing face masks. Washington State Health Department has published a warning and reminder to wear masks and follow guidelines.

Masking is what can help us. New analysis published in Nature reports that masking is the best way to cut down on deaths. If 95% of people wear masks, we could save at least 130,000 lives. The Seattle Times, Med Page Today, the New York Times, as well as other media outlets, have published articles explaining the data. I have links below and encourage you to link on at least one of them and read it.

Our challenge is to help doubters move to adherence in mask wearing. Maybe a mandate would help take the stigma and politicalization away. It really doesn’t help that there are completely contradictory messages from the White House. The numbers of mask wearers have increased as SARS-CoV-2 arrives in the areas that weren’t affected before. Still too many doubters that are encouraged by their leaders, not just the president, but the governors, as well.

Stories are the key to helping people change. Telling people the stories about those affected, the man who went to Sturgis and got sick, others who have been affected. Showing someone pictorial data may help, as this article in The Washington Post shows. This great article from Canada’s CBC is really good and explains other ways to help. Confrontation doesn’t work and can endanger you. Personalize your responses and find out what motivates them, if possible. Easier to do with people you already know. We will not change everyone’s mind but even just changing a few will change lives. And vote, if you haven’t already. The lives of so many are at risk.

In the meantime, wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, outdoors as much as possible. These methods work and are more important now than ever.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-public-health-messages-1.5761859 superspreader