To the editor:

Thank you to everyone who participated in making masks for our community. Thank you to everyone who wears a mask in public. You are my heroes.

I hear people complaining about being asked to wear masks in some stores or public places. There are ridiculous claims floating around the internet. Let’s be clear, they won’t drop your oxygen to dangerous levels if you are well enough to be out shopping in public. Gas molecules (say, oxygen) are much tinier than even viruses. They run less than 0.001 microns. Even a surgical mask will not screen out less than 30 microns.

I am an asthmatic. I am a caregiver for the elderly, who live in my own home. When I venture out (less often these days) to purchase groceries and necessary items, I am so relieved when people are wearing their masks, keeping their hands to themselves, and staying physically distant from others. It means when I get home, I am less likely to bring in a deadly illness. Because in my home it is highly likely a number of people could die.

Right now, COVID-19 is just starting to spread in our area. Although we are weary of staying home, washing our hands, and wearing masks, it is more important now than it was before to protect our friends and neighbors. But for some of you that doesn’t seem to matter. You might not be willing to die over your right to NOT wear a mask, but you might let someone else die for it. Is your choice to NOT wear a mask more important than someone’s life?

Does a mask mean you are sick? No, you are supposed to be home. Does a mask mean you are paranoid and scared? No, they are meant to protect others – not yourself. A mask means you are doing your part to take care of your community. Your mask means you care.

Jeanette West

Alexandria, MN