If you love Fort Worth, wear a mask.
If you want the pandemic to end, wear a mask.
If you want the economy to recover, wear a mask.
We get it: It’s easy to forget. You’re out for only a minute. It’s uncomfortable, especially as the oppression of summer arrives.
Maybe you’re embarrassed to wear a mask when so many others don’t.
But Tarrant County is in danger. COVID-19 caseloads and hospitalizations are up, and not just among the vulnerable elderly. More young adults are sick, and Latinos are now hardest hit.
Some of the increase is the result of more tests. And wider spread was inevitable as we opened more businesses. But if we don’t manage it, we’ll see devastating consequences.
If you could do something to stop it, wouldn’t you? Well, this you can do.
We know a face mask isn’t foolproof. Yes, the experts’ advice has changed. But for now, the best knowledge we have tells us that transmission of the virus is cut dramatically if a large share of people in crowded, indoor public places cover their faces.
And no, it’s not the only thing to be done. It’s still vital to distance from others. City leaders must enforce restrictions on crowd capacities more forcefully, especially in bars. People in any leadership position must send the message to their followers.
If you don’t use a mask because you personally feel safe, reconsider. It’s an easy way to strike a blow against a virus that so many of us feel powerless against. It’s neighborly. It follows the Golden Rule.
If you don’t use a mask because you don’t trust the advice from experts: What harm could come from it? A little inconvenience? Afraid you’ll look silly? This nation survived bell bottoms, we’ll make it through this.
And if you don’t use a mask because you’re on the political right and you think it represents the other party, ask what’s better for your side in November: a contained pandemic and an economy on the rebound or a raging outbreak that chases people into their homes and closes businesses again?
A government mandate that everyone wear masks won’t work and would be impossible to enforce.
But Fort Worth and Texas must do better than the behavior we’re seeing now.
Do it for others. Or do it for yourself.
But either way, wear a mask.