210720 Please Wear a Face Mask So I Can Shut Up About Wearing Face Masks

Please Wear a Face Mask So I Can Shut Up About Wearing Face Masks

Reprinted with permission of Jason Gay

I’m as tired of this discussion as anyone else. So let’s mask up and make progress.

ILLUSTRATION: ZOHAR LAZAR

By Jason Gay

July 17, 2020 9:04 am ET

Let’s do this. Let’s wear the mask. Me in the mask. You in the mask. Everybody in the mask! Yes, it sounds like the lyrics to a bad summer anthem, the kind of song I turn up a little too loudly in the family car.

But let’s get it done. Mask up. I can’t believe it’s the third week of July and we’re still arguing about masks in this country. The rest of the planet must look at us like we’re a bunch of lunatics.

Still: I want to be a sunbeam of positivity. I love you all, and I’m going to assume your families love you, too. (I’m, like, 35% sure my family loves me.) We all have a lot left to live for! There’s so much to see, do and watch on Netflix. Not to mention Hulu.

Also: I need everyone to stick around to read my terrible columns for years to come.

It’s not like I’m asking you to help me move. I’m not asking you to drive me to the airport.

What’s that? You don’t want a column about a topic like this from me? That makes two of us, my friend. Do you really think I want to be writing about masks? Are you kidding? I want to be writing about talking pets. I wrote about masks in May. I thought I was done. I want to be writing about guacamole and poison ivy and making fun of the Mets.

But look at the new cases, friends. We’re still in this battle, and there’s something we all can do: Wear the mask.

You’ve heard it a bajillion times, but here’s the basic idea: If you’re going to be indoors in a building that is asking you to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you’re in a crowd and not able to be socially distant, wear a mask.

That’s it! That’s all that’s being asked here. I’m not asking you to help me move. I’m not asking you to drive me to the airport. I don’t think I’m going to the airport until 2041.

You don’t want a column about a topic like this from me? That makes two of us, my friend.

Yes, early on, the government foolishly waffled on whether we really needed masks, and you’ll always be able to find somebody who’s less than convinced, but the consensus is widening and the inconvenience is mild.

Here’s what the Journal’s Bojan Pancevski and Jason Douglas wrote in late June: While only medical-grade N95 masks can filter tiny viral particles and prevent catching the virus, medical experts say even handmade or cheap surgical masks can block the droplets emitted by speaking, coughing and sneezing, making it harder for an infected wearer to spread the virus.

“Face coverings work,” Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said this week. “It’s our major defense to prevent ourselves from getting this infection. If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks to six weeks, I think we could drive this epidemic to the ground in this country.”

Let’s not play games. Please don’t confuse this as political, red state/blue state, “virtue signaling” or any of that cravenly dismissive talk-radio Twitter egg nonsense. A mask does not suppress freedom, masculinity or even beauty. Who knows? You might look better in a mask. I almost surely do.

Even you-know-who seems to be on board, with an official Presidential mask. The First Lady, too. “Even in the summer months, please remember to wear face coverings and practice social distancing,” Melania Trump posted on Twitter this week. “The more precaution we take now can mean a healthier and safer country in the fall.”

If you can’t do it, if there’s some medical reason a mask doesn’t work for you—that’s A-OK. Pretty much every business has an alternative for you. If you still are having an issue getting what you need, email me— jason.gay@wsj.com—and I’ll help in any way I can. That’s a real offer. Please do not email me to yell about the Mets. Or your guacamole.

This stuff has stakes. It’s bigger than you and me. Let’s mask it and move on. America is ready for what’s next. I want to go back to the talking dogs.

Write to Jason Gay at Jason.Gay@wsj.com

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