To those among us who believe that their rights are being violated because we have been told to wear face masks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I suggest a look at “The Influenza Masks of 1918” by Alan Taylor, published in The Atlantic on July 16.
It’s a gallery of photographs, most of them taken in the United States, picturing people from across the country wearing masks to help prevent the spread of the pandemic influenza virus 102 years ago.
Yes, there are some with legitimate medical conditions that prevent them from being able to safely wear a mask. The rest of us should do the right thing to protect them and everyone else we come into contact with. We are in a war right now on our own soil, against an invisible enemy that has taken the lives of an average of nearly a thousand Americans every day. It is our patriotic duty to join the army that is fighting this battle.
Our rights are not being taken away from us, but our loved ones are, in spite of the fact that our medical treatments are far more effective than they were in 1918. Once again, over a century later, hospitals have been overwhelmed, and hundreds of heroic front-line health care workers have died. The economic and social damage to our country has been enormous.
The longer we fight among ourselves in this war, the more battles the virus wins. We can all take up arms and attack this enemy, or we can sit back and wait for a cure or a vaccine that may or may not happen. Right now, we are being asked to serve our country. The weapon we have to defeat this foe is a mask.