Editorial: Playing catch up — Delaware and the face mask conundrum
Recently, Gov. John Carney ordered that all Delawareans must wear masks in public, following suit behind New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. While we commend this action, this seems to be just the latest example of Delaware simply following its peers.
When it came to closing the university, and closing the state at-large, Delaware lagged behind literally everyone else, except maybe Liberty University.
But, alas, there is nothing we can do to change the past, we can only criticize it and move on. Next on the agenda, and our biggest concern currently, is the actual enforcement of the mask order, or the lack thereof.
Some other states and countries have imposed fines and threatened jail sentences for people caught violating stay-at-home and mask orders, but in Delaware, it largely seems to be a personal choice. Sure, private businesses like Walmart and Wawa have elected to mandate that shoppers wear masks in-store, but that should not be the responsibility of private business.
Our staff is of the opinion that the best route going forward is to impose fines on those who have decided to endanger their neighbors by not wearing masks in public. It has been said time and again, but apparently it needs reiterating: Masks are not to protect you, they are to protect those around you. Looking at you, Vice President Mike Pence.
If you cannot find a mask or maybe have determined that a surgical mask simply does not suit your style, take a tip from our Managing Mosaic Editor, Bianca, and wear a silk scarf. Or a bandana. Or an infinity scarf. Or a balaclava. Or a shemagh. Or pull up a turtleneck. Just cover your face. Please.
On that note, if you cannot find masks, that likely means healthcare workers are also having difficulties finding masks. Believe us when we say that they need them more than you do. Consider buying the ones you can find and donating them to a hospital, keeping the bandana for yourself. Regardless, do not be a mask hoarder.
It also needs to be noted the difference between good old surgical masks and N95 masks. Surgical masks are a single, thin layer of cloth, rectangular and soft. N95 masks are more circular and rigid. Make your own mask before you buy an N95 mask; at all costs, leave these for healthcare workers.
Here’s how to make your own mask. Here are tips for wearing a mask with glasses.
Wear a mask to the store. Wear a mask while on your morning jog. Wear a mask to the doctor. Wear a mask in the drive thru. Wear a mask everywhere that is not where you are sleeping tonight.
If you must sneeze, cough or otherwise cause a commotion, do it in your mask. In this short video, a simulation shows how a sneeze travels in open air versus into an elbow versus with a mask on. An elbow may stifle many of the droplets, but they can still travel several feet forward, gassing everyone in the vicinity. A mask, however, redirects most of those droplets up and down, avoiding infecting anyone nearby.
Of course, it is still of the utmost importance to note that masks do not substitute for social distancing. If possible, your best option is to stay home. The phrase that has haunted us all through quarantine still rings true: You do not know if you have it.
Essential workers, while we do love and appreciate what you do, we have also seen many essential workers wearing masks casually pulled down or pulling them down to talk to people. This defeats the whole purpose of the mask, and among a vulnerable population, at that. This goes for everyone when we say: If you are going to wear a mask, actually wear it.
While we have pointed out many technicalities of our opinion on this topic, the larger point is simply that you need to cover your face. You may hear about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp opening up tattoo parlors and massage spas, you may see Vice President Pence at the Mayo Clinic without a mask, you may know that Texas allowed its stay-at-home order to expire. Do not be fooled by these actions.
The coronavirus pandemic is alive and well, and it will be with us for some time. Wear a mask.
The Review’s weekly editorials are written to reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s staff. This week’s editorial was written by Victoria Calvin, copy desk chief. She may be reached at VCalvin@udel.edu.