Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to mask up.

On Friday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis asked everyone in Colorado to start wearing a mask when we go out in public. The message is the same from the Centers for Disease Control. Every American needs to wear a mask to help prevent getting the coronavirus, to slow the spread of the virus, and to save lives.

On Saturday I went to the grocery store wearing a mask. I was afraid I would be the only one. What would people think of me? Are they going to think I'm some paranoid nutcase? To my surprise, I was greeted by many other "nutcases" who were wearing masks. I would say maybe 15% of the shoppers were masked, which wasn't bad considering the fact the governor's request had come less than 24 hours earlier.

I was back at the store on Sunday shopping for my 86-year-old mother-in-law. Once again I donned the mask, and this time there were even more shoppers wearing masks, perhaps as many as 25%. Suddenly, I wasn't feeling out of place at all. I knew I was doing the right thing, and it wasn't about being paranoid. Seeing others with masks made me feel good about what I was doing. I felt proud to be one of the mask wearers.

There's so much about the coronavirus we don't know, but what we do know is that people have it and spread it before having any symptoms.  This is exactly why we need to be as vigilant as possible to stop the spread of the virus. Some reports indicate the virus might be spreading through simple communication, and not necessarily via a cough or a sneeze. A cloth mask, even a non-surgical mask, can make a difference.

I'm not elderly not do I have any health issues. Could I die from COVID-19? Absolutely. This virus is impossible to predict. It affects people differently, some more severely than others, and it's not just the old and feeble that we are losing.  At this point, if you choose not to wear a mask, not only are you putting your own life in danger, you are putting my life at risk as well as the lives of everyone else you come in contact with.

You can make your own mask and there are details here on coloradomaskproject.org. If you don't have a mask and can't make one, at the very least, use a bandana or scarf to cover your face when you go out.

I'm here to say, I'm joining the movement, and I'm asking you to do the same. I understand none of us like to be told what to do. So far, wearing masks is optional. But, let me ask you this. Under the circumstances, why wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to minimize the risk? You think it's never gonna be you, but I have a feeling that many of the thousands of people who have died never thought it would happen to them.

It could happen to you. It could happen to me. Let's do what we can to make a difference. It's only a temporary situation. The sooner we can get this virus slowed down, the sooner we can all have our lives back. We need everyone's help. We need to become a masked majority.


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Colorado’s COVID-19 Hotline

CO-HELP is Colorado’s call line for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.

Helpful Links:

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

World Health Organization

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

Mesa County Public Health