At the beginning of our country’s experience with COVID-19 it was not clear whether having everyone wear a mask would benefit anyone. But knowledge has been growing about how the disease spreads and how it could be prevented.
We must remember that gains in scientific knowledge are not made by starting at one clear dot of certainty and connecting to the next clearly visible dot. Rather, it is a process of scientists moving from one point, or “dot” of knowledge certainty, in the direction where they think the next dot might be, shifting all around that point, through carefully controlled studies, until a new dot of knowledge has been identified.
At the beginning of COVID-19, the benefit of everyone wearing a mask was not at all clear. But the process of study and investigation has ended on this issue. The evidence is overwhelming that if everyone wore a mask outside their home, a lot fewer Americans would get very ill and a lot fewer would die.
I acknowledge that not everyone believes this. Some people feel that it is a question of personal freedom or a political statement. Consequently, our state government is not going to require you to wear a mask.
But I am asking, no, I am begging, you to consider wearing a mask in public, even if you don’t think it will make a difference, and even if no one can make you do it. I have a daughter who is an Intensive care unit doctor. She is the person who takes care of desperately ill COVID-19 patients, saving some and losing others. The vaccine is coming, and my daughter is part of the medical worker priority to receive it, but still the vaccine requires two doses at least three weeks apart to be fully effective, and in the meantime the number of patients in her ICU continues to soar. My daughter is trained to do this work, her patients need her skills, and she has never wavered in her willing commitment to them.
But I am her mother, and I have loved this child since the day she was born. I know that in addition to being a dedicated and caring doctor, she is the happily married mother of an 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. So, I ask you, please, as nothing more than one fellow traveler in this life to another, out of the kindness of your heart, will you please wear a mask, because I beg you to?
Even if you think it will make no difference, I believe it will, and your kindness in donning a mask will be the nicest Christmas gift you ever give and the best I ever receive.
Apalachicola resident Bonnie Davis is the wife of a retired ICU physician and the mother of three children.
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Give me the Christmas of my dreams