Tell them to ‘mask up’

We’re echoing Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine today, pleading with Ohioans to wear masks. We’re echoing former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who joined DeWine, virtually, and a news conference asking each of us to be cautious and to protect ourselves and others by wearing a mask.

“I survived. I’m alive. It could very well have gone the other way. Don’t let your guard down,” Christie said. “I made a huge mistake taking that mask off.”

He’s a recent convert; DeWine’s been an advocate since the start of the pandemic, as soon as the science was clear that wearing masks prevents transmission of the COVID-19 virus. We stand with DeWine and the medical professionals, the doctors and public health care experts who tell us masking up will greatly reduce the spread of the virus, and bring this pandemic to an end, sooner.

We’ve seen too much irresponsible behavior by the very people this nation depends on to set the example, to be the model. We’ve seen too many reckless rallies, too many irresponsible gatherings in bars and other party places where people just refuse to wear mask, or forget to because of inebriation, or other excuses. It doesn’t cut it; there is no excuse for not wearing a mask in public, and when social distancing cannot be achieved.

But those venues, where irresponsible behavior is more likely, are not the only places where it happens, causing people wearing masks to cringe with disbelief and a feeling of powerlessness. In schools, at stores, markets, and other locales, too often too many are ignoring the established science, putting others at risk, people who are — quite literally — killing members of our families and our loved ones.

Once-and-for-all, COVID-19 is not just the flu, it can and might kill you if you are reckless and become infected. It might kill your parents or your grandparents, brothers or sisters, children or neighbors if you are asymptomatic and transmit the virus.

There are more than 220,000 dead Americans — 220,000 — and those no longer with us should not be disrespected by people letting their freak flags fly refusing to mask up in public. We must, each of us, no matter how reluctant, urge the mask-less to show that respect when we encounter them, and we will encounter them. We must learn how to communicate that message in an effective and consistent way.

— The Sandusky Register, Oct. 24; Online: