By Victoria A. Schmidt
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
COVID has infected every country in the world. Every territory. Only Antarctica remains unaffected. I struggle daily reading about and listening to people justifying their refusal to wear a piece of cloth across their nose and mouth in order to protect other people from becoming infected with the virus. How does this violate civil rights? I must wear corrective lenses and a seatbelt in order to drive. Is that a violation of my rights? I don’t see it as that; I see it as safety for all of the drivers on the road.
Due to constantly conflicting versions of “the truth,” the USA has infected the very fabric of our society. And the heartbreaking truth is that people are paying for these inconsistencies with their lives. In one Texas county over 85 babies, two years of age and younger, have tested positive for COVID. The youngest died at just six weeks old.
Not one single person can be blamed for this pandemic. Not one country can be blamed. Perhaps eventually we can blame a species of animal, but right now what is most important is developing a way to keep our citizens safe. The USA has utterly failed at that. Daily I am grateful that I live in a country, and a state, that takes this virus seriously. I truly believe that wearing a mask in public at this time is the greatest show of one’s patriotism, of one’s compassion.
We make a big mistake by going to war against each other when the virus is the enemy. We make another big mistake when we politicize the virus and our actions to bring it under control. COVID is blind to our political views, the country we live in, or the color of our skin. Yet it is true that a disproportionate number of Blacks and Latinos have been infected in the USA. Their increased vulnerability may well be due to not only their economic status, which frequently forces them to live in overcrowded housing and neighborhoods, but also due to their lack of health care, which has resulted in untreated medical conditions.
Like all viruses, COVID’s mission is to infect. And it is becoming better and better at its mission. The original strain was listed as a “D” strain. Now, it has mutated to a “G” strain, which makes it 10 times more infectious. While we prattle on about the efficacy of masks and social distancing, this virus continues to get more and more sophisticated at doing its job.
No one asked to be doing battle with this virus. No country wanted it. But the fact of the matter is, it is here. Now. People, please use common sense. Is there one among us who wouldn’t gladly wear a mask if it meant keeping a six-week-old baby alive? Does that lady next to me at Walmart rely on me to help keep her children safe? Does that gentleman at the farmacia have an elderly and vulnerable parent who needs protection? Might the fellow pumping my gas at Pemex be a carrier, meaning I could bring it home to my spouse? This is the lens through which we must look at our community today. Like it or not, we should stay home as much as possible. But when we must be out, wear your mask. Is it inconvenient? You bet. Is it safer? The statistics show it definitely is.
Don’t tell me they are uncomfortable. So is a ventilator. So is intubation. All of it is uncomfortable. But comfort doesn’t get a vote in this battle. And don’t tell me it’s difficult to breathe. COVID can make it impossible to breathe.
Learn to use your mask. I found a way not to fog up my glasses. You will too. Don’t make inane excuses. Working together, we can stop the spread of this infection here at Lakeside.
Recently in Mexico Daily News it was reported that Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez issued a stern warning to the 8.25 million residents of Jalisco state: “Stay home, practice social distancing, and wear masks. Those who refuse will face consequences, including fines. Everyone’s lives are at stake,” he said.
No, I don’t see donning a mask as infringing on anyone’s rights. I see it as not only obeying the law, but showing I truly care about my beloved Lakeside community.
Column: Editor’s Page
Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. She is a graduate of Moorhead State University, Minnesota and graduated Cum Laude with a BA degree in Radio, Television and Film. At 23 she was hired at multi-national media corporation, where she worked 10 years as their Director for Operations and Finance. She then ran her own business consulting company. She has won multiple community service awards. Writing has been a passion of Victoria’s since Junior High. She has been active in the writing and publishing business for over 40 years and has been a columnist for the Ojo del Lago since 2008.