If you're still opposed to wearing a face mask in public, this column is for Very Special You.
I don't mean that sarcastically. One of us believes we're magically immune to this highly contagious virus, and it sure isn't me. I've never felt that special a day in my life. So, lucky you.
Except you probably aren't that lucky.
I'm making a judgment on your news consumption when I say, perhaps you're unaware of the latest numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths. We've all been busy.
I'm here to help. As of 12:14 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 2, these are the numbers in the U.S. as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more commonly called the CDC:
— 2,679,230 cases of infection.
— 128, 024 deaths.
In the time it took you to read those figures, the numbers have gone up. Also on Thursday, July 2, the U.S. hit an all-time high of newly reported cases of infection, at over 40,000.
Across the country, public health experts cite the same reasons: Too many people are not staying home, and when they go out, they are refusing to wear face masks. They're also not keeping a safe distance of six feet from others.
Let's acknowledge the obvious: We have a president who has refused to encourage his fellow Americans to wear face masks during this deadly pandemic. Just hours ago, CNN's Jim Acosta reported that President Donald Trump had this to say about the spike of cases in several states: "We are putting out that life because it's a bad life that we're talking about."
Read that out loud.
Lord help us.
Speaking of God, maybe you're one of those Christians who believes that you don't have to take any precautions because God will protect you from dying of COVID-19. I hear you. However, as Christians, let us consider this from Philippians 2:3: "But in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves."
I would never claim to know what Jesus would do, but I have a hard time believing he'd be knocking on the door to infect us with a potentially fatal virus. It's not his style.
Or, to quote a devout Christian I loved until the day she died, "If people want to die stupid, God'll let them."
Miss you, Mom.
Maybe my urging you to protect yourself and others from this virus is unpersuasive because you think it's hard to imagine anyone missing you if you were gone.
Good news: It's never too late to become loveable.
As long as you're upright, you get another chance to become the person you wanted to be before life crashed all around you. You could wear a mask, for example, and gain a reputation for telling the barefaced among us that you're wearing it to protect them.
"Spread love and love will find you."
Maybe you've read this far, and you're still not convinced you need to wear a mask. Well, I'm here to warn you that things are changing pretty fast, and you're going to have to keep up. Even the governor of Texas just ordered face masks in all counties with 20 or more cases of COVID-19.
People are starting to take names, too. It's getting easier to trace the cause of outbreaks because those who are lucky enough to survive share names, and those who die leave behind grieving loved ones willing to talk. If you insist on parading around in public without a mask, your name is increasingly likely to be on people's tongues or the tombstone of a fresh grave.
Finally, no matter how much you think we don't have in common, I know this: You don't want to cause an innocent person's death, and you don't want to die gasping for air.
You've made your point, and it wasn't a good one. Wear a mask, and stay home if you can. Keep your distance from the cruelty of those who won't.
May we both live to disagree for many years to come.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books. Her new novel is The Daughters of Erietown. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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