Wear A Mask Already

Street photography by Craig Boehman.

Mumbai - December 2020

Americans may not know or heard of the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918 that went on to kill more than 50 million people worldwide, with estimates between 500,000 and 850,000 deaths in the United States.

Here are a few fun facts about this pandemic, the most-deadly in modern times: 1) Recent studies strongly suggest origins in the United States. 2) The media was only allowed to report on the ill effects in Spain - hence the name. 3) There were four waves during the outbreak, which lasted from December 1917 through April of 1920. 4) Even in those times, after the effects became known, there were "anti-maskers".

There are more than a few parallels that can be drawn between the Spanish Flu and Covid-19. One of them is the gross incompetence of the American government to respond to the crisis, to downplay the effects, and to outright lie about it. These lies lead to many lives lost needlessly and fed into the notion that masks and other safety precautions weren't needed.

Apart from government malfeasance, large segments of the population can rightfully be blamed for spreading the virus. Somehow, the issue of "rights" and the violations thereof, has been invoked by people who conflate a global health crisis with some sort of political repression. This is the very definition of ignorance and self-importance, selfishness, and all-around stupidity.

My message to anti-maskers and those who simply don't wear one for a plethora of bad reasons: if you want a return to normalcy sooner, wear a mask. It's not about the low chances of you dying - it's about you passing Covid-19 onto a dozen other hosts who have no symptoms, and then the last idiot in the chain passing it onto the elderly and killing them. Wear a mask.

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