I'm getting pretty good at drawing masks. It's my little way of reminding everyone how easy it would be to tamp our infection rates if everyone took precautions. I draw masks into a lot of my art. And, of course, I wear a mask when I'm in public spaces.
I recently read an article about the conclusions we can draw from autopsies being performed on coronavirus patients. This sentence stood out to me:
A new modeling study has estimated that about 22 percent of the population — or 1.7 billion people worldwide, including 72 million in the United States — may be vulnerable to severe illness if infected with covid-19.
There are many reasons people have for not wearing masks, but I think one common reason is that they believe the virus isn't as serious as the media says it is, and they're not particularly worried about catching it themselves - either because they don't think they will, or they think it won't be a big deal if they do.
One way to look at the quote above is to conclude that they're right. If only 22% of the population is vulnerable to the worst cases of covid-19, then they're most likely part of the 78%, who will be less impacted. The thing is, wearing a mask protects the 22% who are vulnerable, and that population includes my mom (who's turning 90 on Friday).
My mom is pretty stoic and very sweet. She rarely complains, and is constantly apologetic for any inconvenience her presence may be to us. (She's been that way since she moved in with us a year ago, long before this pandemic.) She's the opposite of demanding. Yet, when I come home from anywhere - walking the dog, mailing Etsy packages, buying groceries - she always asks, "Did you wash your hands, honey?"
That's when I know she's a little scared. That's as demonstrative or demanding as she gets.
I wear a mask in public. I bring a mask when I hike or walk just in case I can't maintain social distancing. I do it because maybe I'm asymptomatic. I don't want to risk infecting you.
Or your mom.
And I draw masks into my art hoping to charm non-mask wearers into caring about my mom too.