The current U.S. recession is the worst it has been in recorded history.  Of nearly 200,000 restaurant closures on the Yelp platform since March of last year, 61% will be permanent.  The effects of massive unemployment and business shutdowns is visible as you drive through your own neighborhood. [3,4]
A tent city is expanding near the 405 freeway off ramp to the Los Angeles Airport. Two miles away, an unmasked man is napping on a bus bench, in spite of the metal armrests spaced two feet apart that hinder sleeping. Twenty minutes later, he was awake, sitting on the curb and wearing a face mask.
The displacement of people due to the pandemic is heart wrenching. What strikes me most about this scene is that even homeless persons can recognize the need for a face covering. Scavenging food from trash cans, you might expect that they would not care about disease. Some don’t. But the resolve to live should be a lesson for those with means to wear masks. It is health care at its most basic level.
Nearly every major decision during the pandemic is not simply a matter or right or wrong. It is a choice between multiple mediocre decisions and adverse consequences. Any action upsets someone.
- Properly wearing masks minimizes disease transmission but is uncomfortable.
- Staying at home saves lives but disrupts the economy.
- In-person schooling is more effective than remote learning but risks health.
- A moratorium on evictions results in accumulated back-rent payments.
- Opening restaurants saves jobs but risks virus transmission.
- Repurposing hospitals to handle COVID-19 patients results in backlog of elective medical procedures.
The list goes on. Many decisions pit medical recommendations against political ones like pre-fight hype for a battle between two undefeated champions.
With everyone shouting opposing options and criticizing every decision, can people accept the general choices of a designated decision maker? Of course, these tough calls should elevate human safety with compassion. The population might then make decisions within those guidelines for individual family circumstances.
Opposing leadership has the unfavoraable conseaquence of anarchy. And protests increase opportunities for coronavirus exposure, resulting in more surges.
Wear Face Masks
Why is this still a question? How come enforcement leads to uprisings?  Like it or not, wearing face masks is becoming the new normal around the world. Even if you do not wear the best one, it reduces the transmission of airborne virus from asympatomatic persons.  If you are expecting states to eliminate the mask requirement after the third surge of COVID-19 cases, think again.  What may change is the advice to add more protection, like a face shield.
Rather than specifying when and where to wear face masks, simplifying the rule to have everyone wear a mask in public is likely. What happens if you do not comply will depend upon local laws and whether you test positive for the coronavirus.
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- US economy posts its worst drop on record. cnn.com
- Yelp: 61% Of Pandemic Restaurant Closures Will Be Permanent. restaurantbusinessonline.com
- Unemployment claims rise for second week in a row. cnn.com
- Covid-19 is more widespread than ever in the US, even hitting Americans living on islands. cnn.com
- Man charged with shooting at an employee after being asked to wear a mask in a Pennsylvania cigar shop, police say. cnn.com
- This ER doctor and heart transplant survivor wants you to wear a mask. cnn.com
- Biden wants Americans to wear masks for 100 days. marketwatch.com
- Photos by Levent Simsek, Chris John, and Shane Aldendorff, respectively, of Pexels.
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