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Eric Douglas sig

Like a lot of people, I’m mystified as to why wearing a mask is even an issue. I have yet to hear a single credible source say they don’t help – angry people yelling on YouTube don’t count.

Do I like masks? Nope. But they do slow the spread of disease.

I’m not a doctor. About 20 years ago, I did become an Emergency Medical Technician (or EMT)-Basic when I lived in California, though. Literally, the first chapter in the EMT manual is about rescuer safety and that includes wearing what we all know as PPE.

It’s probably a tired story, but in World War II, we all stood together and sacrificed. People did without meat and fabric and metal. They planted Victory Gardens to make sure there was enough food to go to the troops.

Now, ALL the medical experts on the state and national level are saying wear a mask. No one is asking you to go without nylon pantyhose.

There were actually Anti-Mask Leagues during the Spanish Flu in 1918 and 1919. We were in World War I at the time, and one Red Cross PSA said, “the man or woman or child who will not wear a mask now is a dangerous slacker.”

Obviously, not everyone knows someone who has gotten sick from COVID-19 and even fewer know someone who has died from it. But it has still killed more than 125,000 people in just a few months.

There is a good chance you do know a nurse or a doctor. Ask them what they think about masks. And listen to them. If they work in the emergency department or the ICU, ask them about the coronavirus, too.

I agree it is vital we open up the economy and get people back to work. To do that, people have to stop getting sick. Just as importantly, people have to feel comfortable going out in public.

And that’s the key. Even if you think masks are silly or ineffective or whatever, aren’t you willing to sacrifice just a little to get the economy going again?

Here’s a serious question. Do you like football? Because the season could be in jeopardy if we don’t get the virus under control. No university or pro team is going to pack a stadium with screaming fans if there is a chance attendees could be sick and spread it to more people. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Wear a mask. Stop the spread.

I really think it is a small sacrifice.

And, yes, I know I am going to get angry emails for saying this.

(Editor’s note: On July 6, Gov. Jim Justice announced an indoor face covering requirement in all public indoor places where social distancing cannot be maintained.)

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at