Editorial: Wear the mask! It won't hurt you. It may save a loved one

Posted June 19, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Friday, June 19, 2020; Editorial #8554
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

North Carolinians don’t need to wait for a government order requiring them to wear face masks to thwart the spread of the COVID-19.

It is common sense. It protects the public’s health. It is easy.

Employers, retail establishment operators, restaurant owners and others should require it in working places of employees, customers and visitors.

Along the customary 3-S sign: “No Shoes, No Shirt – No Service!” should be a new 3-W sign: “Wash your hands, Wait 6-feet apart, Wear a mask.”

Make it clear. No Ws --- no service. No place of business should knowingly avoid doing anything that puts workers or customers health at risk.  Wearing masks is the easiest and most effective way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in public spaces.

At 4 p.m. today, with very few exceptions, everyone in Raleigh will be required to wear a mask in public – by proclamation of Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin. Law enforcement officers are “strongly” urged to “educate and encourage” the public to voluntarily comply with the order. There is no fine or other punishment for failure to comply.  Several other communities in the Triangle area, as well as in other parts of the state, have adopted similar orders.

“We asked, now we’re telling,” Baldwin said at a news conference. She said people will understand the different emphasis that come with issuing a state of emergency order over just asking people to do something. “This is important, folks. We need compliance.”

There seems to be, particularly among some who see mask-wearing as an infringement on individual liberties, a relentless effort make it a partisan issue.

But COVID-19 doesn’t distinguish among Democrats or Republicans. Just ask Republican State Treasurer Dale Folwell, whose bout with the virus landed him in the hospital for five days. Ask state Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange County, whose adult daughter in Charlotte was diagnosed with the virus and is battling symptoms.

“This is a low-cost, low-tech way to protect ourselves and our communities. It’s an important way to slow the spread of the virus without hurting the economy,” Gov. Roy Cooper said during the Thursday COVID-19 briefing. “Wearing a face covering when you’re around others slows the spread of the virus.”

Cooper spent a significant part of the briefing stressing the importance of wearing a mask to stem the spread of the virus. “We need more people to wear masks, and we need to figure out the best way to do that.”

For nearly everyone, wearing a mask in public spaces is no inconvenience. It works. A landmark UNC study proved it. “If the nose is the dominant initial site from which lung infections are seeded, then the widespread use of masks to protect the nasal passages, as well as any therapeutic strategies that reduce virus in the nose, such as nasal irrigation or antiviral nasal sprays, could be beneficial,” said study co-author Richard Boucher, a professor of medicine and director of the Marsico Lung Institute at the UNC School of Medicine.

It is the easiest and most basic way to thwart the spread of COVID-19.

It’s simple.

No hand Washing? No distance Waiting? No mask Wearing? No Service!

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