It saddens me to see so many people of all ages refusing to wear face-masks, wash their hands regularly and maintain social distance. It is one of attitude! One hears our fellow citizens saying, “I find it a nuisance -- too inhibiting -- to comply with all these rules in the land of the free”; or “I am strong and young so I won’t become infected and if I do I will fight it off like a cold or the flu.” Bottom-line, the prevalent viewpoint of those who refuse to comply with these health-safety protocols is “I am not hurting anyone other than maybe myself, so leave me alone!”

Wrong, there are victims – plenty and multiplying. The victims come from all walks of life and become exposed to and therefore infected by those who have not been compliant and a fair number of those coronavirus patients require hospitalization and some even die. Not only do those who become infected end up as victims but so do their loved ones and friends who suffer with them. The adverse public health impact of having so many people being defiant is a huge uptick in coronavirus cases. The opening of our public recreation areas, businesses and schools is now being threatened again for closure because of the COVID 19 pandemic worsening.

What will it take for all of us to act in unison to fight the spread of the coronavirus for the betterment of everyone? Government’s public health orders and local police’s enforcement actions will not by themselves corral the coronavirus from metastasizing in our communities. We cannot wait and hope that our dedicated healthcare scientists will rescue us by discovering a vaccine or an effective treatment anytime soon; though it would be wonderful if they did. The call to duty for all of us is to embrace the mission of helping our neighbors and communities now by complying with basic health safety protocols with the intent of making a positive difference in the fight against COVID 19 spreading..

We need to advance the three Es action plan in our daily lives to win. It starts first and foremost with education for which we are all responsible to teach by explaining the disease, its consequences and what actions we must take to contain it. Second, we must take a proactive approach to encourage our family, neighbors and community to comply with health-safety protocols (e.g., posting signs, producing social media ads and distributing face-masks). And, the third leg of the stool is enforcement which will be limited but has a place to demonstrate the importance of compliance. Government policymakers can’t be wishy-washy, however, about what is required for police to enforce. If government makes exceptions to the rule by saying, for example, that if one is only with family members outside or expects to be alone and more than six feet from others then they do not need to wear face masks, how can we expect police to even-handedly and effectively enforce the rules? These exceptions to wearing a mask are a recipe for failure for law enforcement to properly take consistent and meaningful action. 

We have the power as individuals working together to make a difference. It starts with our attitude and will. It won’t be easy and it will take real, continuous effort but I believe we can combine the attitude and will to recover and thrive once again in our neighborhoods and with our economy.

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