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Simply a matter of good public health
June 24, 2020

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To the editor:

The decision whether or not to wear a facial mask in public should never have become a political issue, or a symbol of a culture war. It's a matter of good public health, pure and simple, as we all try our best to maneuver through the minefield of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal health authorities strongly recommend facial masks whenever the recommended 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Most Americans report wearing a mask every time or most of the time they are in public.

Although President Donald Trump's vanity prevents him from wearing a mask in public, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R) said recently, "There's no stigma attached to wearing a mask." Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has said, "Wearing a face covering is not about politics - it's about helping other people."

On Sanibel, the mayor and city council have recently reopened the island to commercial interests, so tourists who do not always care about others' health are here among us. Many of them do not wear facial masks in public, except in Bailey's General Store where masks are required. (Even then, some enter the store sans mask and resist the offer of a free one when it's offered.) This does not bode well for keeping the number of confirmed cases on-island low.

We are all in this together. COVID-19 is not a hoax and it has not yet gone away. Facial masks are easily available. Please wear one whenever you are in public and are unable to maintain 6 feet of social distancing.

Alison Ward

Sanibel

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