Wearing A Mask, the Economy and Your Retirement
by Doyle Ranstrom on Jul 17, 2020
There seems to be a lot of controversy regarding wearing a mask and should it be mandated. Recently, an older lady threw a temper tantrum when she was told she was required to wear a mask to shop at Costco. I understand the tantrum. A few years ago, my wife said if I went for a ride with her to Bozeman, she would get me a chocolate chip cookie. When we got to Bozeman, she took me to Costco. I also threw a temper tantrum, as I believe going into any large department store with lots of people is a bad idea. She finally got me into the store by also promising me a beer and a dark chocolate candy bar.
Personally, I have no problem wearing a mask as my wife has wanted me to wear one around the house for years. Her favorite is the George Clooney mask. The only inconvenience is drinking beer from a straw.
Some suggest it is a violation of their personal freedom to be required to wear a mask. I checked out the Bill of Rights which clearly state Freedoms include Speech, Religion, Press, to Assemble, and to Petition the Government. However, there was no statement about wearing a mask. Our Founding Fathers, leaders like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams to name a few, were very intelligent educated men. They knew about plagues. They were very familiar with smallpox. But science had not progressed to the point it is today. Given their commitment to education and knowledge, there is not a doubt in my mind that if these great men had had the science available to them as we do today, they would have listened and learned from the scientists and their research.
A friend of mine recently told me if one is in a public place with lots of people, it is pretty easy to determine who is not the freshest water in the mountain stream by who is not wearing a mask.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, scientific research had indicated wearing a mask protects other people from yourself. New research has indicated, especially with the uniqueness of the coronavirus, the mask may protect you from other people.
For example, an article first published in U of California - San Francisco dated June 26, 2020, and updated on July 11th reviews studies supporting the benefits of wearing a mask. An article cites a simulation where researches, using current data, found that if 80% of the population wore masks, this would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown.
Anecdotal evidence also supports the benefits of wearing a mask. For example, to two Missouri hairstylists who were infected and then saw 140 clients while symptomatic. In addition to other social distance measures in the salon, both of the infected stylists along with all other employees and clients wore masks. Of the 140 clients and seven co-workers potentially exposed, 46 took tests that came back negative. All the others were quarantined for the duration of the coronavirus incubation period and after the 14-day incubation period, no new coronavirus cases have been linked to the salon.
For those worried about our economy, and we all should be, wearing a mask seems like a very simple, but positive contribution we can all make. For those worried about their retirement, the more people who wear masks, the more secure your retirement.
Ok, we know masks protect other people from you. We know masks protect you from other people. But there is another extremely important consideration, health care workers, and the health care system. The health care system and workers have been under unbelievable pressure working long shifts and in many cases enduring unbearable stress. Wearing a mask reduces the number of people needing health care at any given time and this is very beneficial for our health care workers and the system overall. This is called flattening the curve and is a reason many states are requiring masks in public places.
One last comment. Of all human emotions, I would suggest the one that makes us better as people, is empathy. The ability to think not about ourselves, but what is better for others. People who are upset about wearing a mask may want to try some empathy. It’s also called compassion for others.