“…to promote the general welfare…”

It started when I shared the above meme on my Facebook page. A Facebook friend I knew in high school voiced his objection to wearing masks during this pandemic. He stated that mask wearing would be forced on Americans by law. I suggested (as the title of this blog also suggests) the enforcement of mask wearing is covered by the clause in the Preamble to the US Constitution that reads “to promote the general welfare.” I believe requiring people to wear masks during a public health crisis is promoting the general welfare.

He then stated that the masks would be mandated by law to control us. I reminded him that there are other laws on the books meant to control us: Stopping at red lights and stop signs; wearing clothes when in public; not being able to set our own houses on fire; needing a license to drive a car, fly a plane, be a doctor, practice law. And I presumed he didn’t have a problem with being controlled by those laws.

In fact, do you know which laws are meant to control people’s behavior?

All of them!

My friend told me that he and his whole family had all contracted Covid-19 and they all recovered. He said the disease has a 99% survival rate. He brought up the fact that lockdowns can lead to increased parental and spousal abuse and increased cases of despair and depression. He claimed that prolonged mask wearing would lead to lung damage due to the retention of germs and CO2. He brought up the eight month old talking point of the cure being worse than the disease and then he veered off into the non sequitur topics of socialism, China, BLM, and Antifa.

What follows is the rest of my response to my friend.

I’m glad to hear your family has recovered from Covid-19. I hope there is no reinfection.

Let’s take one thing off the table for this thread. The original post addresses the apparent hypocrisy of those hunters who can cover themselves, head to toe, including their faces, and do so for hours at a time when deer hunting; but when it comes to wearing a mask to go to the grocery store, in order to protect themselves and their neighbors from a highly infectious disease, that is an affront to their rights.

This thread should not be about civil unrest, socialism, whatever. That was a non sequitur that took the thread off topic.

Let’s focus on masks. I have posted about this before on Facebook: Masks work. Masks keep the large droplets that come from our mouths and noses when we cough, sneeze, talk, yawn, breathe, etc. away from others. It is in those droplets where the virus can be found.

The thing about Covid-19 is people can have it and feel fine, but still spread it around.

This is why we should all wear masks in public. We don’t know that we aren’t carrying the virus, so we should act as though we are. This is to protect others!

And this is something that boggles my mind. If you saw a neighbor being attacked by a dog, wouldn’t you try to save them? Of course, you would. Wearing a mask can save that same neighbor from this virus. Saving someone from a dog is doable for you, but wearing a mask isn’t? The dog can bite you, the mask can’t.

Another head scratcher for me is the fact that many of the people refusing to wear masks are veterans. They were willing to lay down their lives for strangers, but wearing a mask at the Home Depot is somehow a bridge too far? I don’t get it.

And that 99% survival rate you mentioned is just referring to those that don’t DIE from Covid-19.

It doesn’t mean that the 99% have all recovered back to their pre-Covid norms. Most will, but a sizable percentage of people who get it will develop problems with their lungs and/or hearts. They could suffer neurological damage. And of those who have these complications it may take weeks, months, or even years to recover. As the long term effects continue to be studied, it is possible some people might be afflicted in some way for the rest of their lives.

I know the difficulties of isolation and loss of contact with loved ones. My parents are both in their 80s and their health isn’t what it used to be. It’s been since March since I have been able to hug them. Like most anyone, I would like to able to give my mother a kiss on her cheek again, but I care about her health. I want my parents to be around for a few more years.

I know there is Covid fatigue, but if we as a country had acted quickly and followed the recommendations of medical science, we may have been able to avoid much of this and many of the more than 250,000 Americans who have died from this virus would still be here. I can still visit my parents (I wear a mask when I do), but there are a quarter of a million families who cannot be with the people they have lost to this pandemic. And many of them could not even be with their dying loved ones in those last moments.

Masks also give some protection to the person wearing them. Masks can cut down the amount of virus a person is exposed to. Science is showing that the amount of viral exposure can affect the severity of the illness. Less exposure, less severe. More exposure, more severe. However, there are other factors involved in the severity of a person’s illness. General health, age, comorbidities such as asthma and diabetes, etc.

I can’t help but think that had a certain leader of our country embraced masks instead of ridiculing them and saying he didn’t think he would wear one, many anti-maskers would be happily masking up, doing their part as patriots to protect their neighbors.

Why I suspect that had that certain leader masked up and followed distancing guidelines, he might have avoided catching Covid-19 himself.

And, no, CO2 poisoning is not a problem with mask wearing. There’s a video that gives the science on mask wearing. It breaks the myths surrounding masks, including CO2 poisoning. The presenter wears six surgical masks at once and his oxygen levels are unaffected.

Also, we have plenty of evidence that your claim of lung damage from germs and CO2 due to extended mask wearing is false. That evidence is called surgeons.

Surgeons wear masks for hours at a time. Day after day. They have done so since the 1930s. There is no evidence that surgeons suffer from any kind of lung damage from wearing masks.

And there is the hunter all masked up in the original post. We have come full circle.

Be a good neighbor. Wear a mask.

That’s it. These are the facts.

You and your family got sick, but you were able to recover. Good. I hope there are no long term effects. I don’t want to get sick. And I do not want to get others sick. I’m going to follow the science. I’m going to wear a mask.

Once this pandemic is dealt with, when a vaccine is available, we will be able to take off the masks.

Of course, when the vaccine is available, we’ll have to convince the anti-vaxxers to get it.

That’s another battle for another day.

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