To the Editor:
It had been two weeks since I had physically gone grocery shopping. This weekend, it became necessary. Sporting my cloth mask and baseball cap (like most men, struggling with bad hair days), I ventured into an area store. Just that morning, I learned that 81 employees at another area store tested positive for covid19.
Unfortunately, I saw customers without face coverings. Masks aren’t needed if you can maintain a distance of six feet when outdoors. In a grocery store, that is near to impossible, as much as we try. Respiratory droplets will travel six feet.
This is simple. It is about the greater good. There is asymptomatic spread. You may have it and never show any signs. Wearing a mask shows that you value the people who work in a grocery store, by not infecting them. Some of them are high school students, who may have to work because a parent lost a job; some are adults who are struggling right now. They are showing up to work to help you.
Say, without a mask, you inadvertently end up closer than six feet to someone. You can infect them, causing them to become seriously ill. Or, they could not have any symptoms and continue the spread until someone else ends up hospitalized or dies. That person could be your parent or grandparent, your neighbor with cancer, or your friend’s child with disabilities.
Governor Baker’s order goes into effect May 6. We have to control the spread in our area communities. We are all in this together.
Physician, UMass Memorial
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine