Do you remember going to the grocery store or the mall before March 2020? Take a moment. It’s been awhile before a time when we couldn’t get through a conversation without using the words …
Do you remember going to the grocery store or the mall before March 2020? Take a moment. It’s been awhile before a time when we couldn’t get through a conversation without using the words “pandemic” at least twice.
But if you close your eyes tightly and pull up a vision in your mind, you might recall a person or two with a mask.
It wasn’t everyone or even every day. Sometimes you would go weeks or months without seeing a single masked person.
But still, they were there.
People fighting cancer.
People who’d recently received a life-saving organ transplant.
People with a wide range of diseases that rendered everyday infections like the common cold more dangerous than they are to the average citizen.
Remember those people now? They grocery shopped and took their kids to buy prom dresses and picked up pizza and did other everyday tasks, but they did them with masks on.
We didn’t ask them why they wore their masks. We didn’t ascribe political motivations to their masks, or assume much more than a health issue was at play.
We saw them, and if we were decent, compassionate people, we simply treated them like everyone else.
After all, they weren’t hurting us.
They were helping themselves.
It bears remembering those people this week as yet another mask mandate is lifted, this time in New York’s schools, marking one of the biggest changes to mask protocols since this pandemic began.
Come Wednesday, there will be few places left where it’s mandatory to wear a mask, but you will see people still wearing them.
Because there are still people fighting cancer.
There are still people who’ve gotten life-saving organ transplants.
There are still people whose countless diseases that put them at higher risk of infections like the common cold ... and yes, COVID-19.
You may make the decision that wearing a mask is not necessary for your own health.
But if you want to be anything like that decent and compassionate person in the mall or the grocery store in 2019, you can simply treat them just like everybody else.
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