Letter: Mask use a duty to fellow humans

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To the Editor:

If you have been listening to President Trump or watching Fox News, you've been misled that COVID-19 is under control in the U.S. This is not a hoax by the Democrats or anyone else — it is a not a political issue; it is a human issue. It is a deathly pandemic, and we are not out of it yet.

Here are some important statistics:

1. A recent study by the National Governors Association found that states that require masks have experienced an 84 percent increase in cases. Those states that required masks experienced a decrease of 25 percent.

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2. Since the reopening of businesses, cases have increased by 65 percent over the past two weeks. This is a stronger surge than in the early months of the epidemic. 3. 30-60 percent of virus carriers do not show symptoms. Clearly, you are not safe without a mask and as important, you could be endangering others.

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On a recent visit to the Bennington Dollar Store, I was greeted by an employee as she exited the store without a mask on. In the store, I witnessed an employee talking with a woman and children, all without masks. When I asked another employee, who was wearing a mask, why these employees weren't wearing one, I was told they were on break and did I know that some people couldn't wear masks due to health issues? I then asked if all five of the people in conversation, including the employee, had health issues. Her answer was that she had no control over who wore a mask.

The same day, at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, I was impressed with the safety procedures during my intake. They even had masks available for those who arrived without one. However, once in the waiting room, I encountered two people twirling those masks on their fingers, not wearing them. When I alerted the staff, they quickly redeemed the situation but would have been unaware of it without my speaking up.

I appeal to all those who think they don't need to wear a mask because they "don't have COVID," especially the young. If you aren't going to think of yourself, at least think of others. Although there are increasing numbers of young — from infants to age 40 — who are getting the virus, it's the elderly, who have contributed so much to our community over their lives, who are most in danger.

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Asking you to wear a mask and maintain social distancing for the health and safety of all members of your community is not an infringement of your personal freedoms. It is, in these dangerous and difficult times, simply your duty as a member of the human race.

Christine Costello,



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