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The Mask Debate

When the whole COVID-19 pandemic first reared its ugly head in Canada, I went around saying, I’m not afraid of this disease, I’m a healthy person, bring it on. Then the nightly news began to build with horror stories – numbers soared, death totals climbed. There was so much uncertainty in the beginning – what were the actual symptoms; what were the effective practices to follow?

As time went on and we learned more about this disease, my opinion changed. I was still unafraid of contracting the coronavirus, but I began to appreciate how devastating it would be if I were to pass it along to someone far more vulnerable. That’s when my attitude toward safety measures turned 180˚

Masks were an indecisive issue in the beginning and, to be fair, no one knew a lot at that time. Government officials and chief medical officers were flying by the seat of their pants; uncertain as to which direction to turn. Masks were not effective, then they were, then there were conflicting opinions and then it was decided that wearing a mask would not protect the person wearing it, but it would protect those with whom that person came into contact. That was good enough for me, and a very small price to pay for keeping those around me safe.

My sister Joan, 77 years old and a real fire cracker, hates wearing a mask, feels it’s a violation of her rights, while my 73 year old sister lectures her on how, if she wears a seatbelt while driving, to protect herself, she should wear a mask while attending Mass, to protect those around her. I’d think that Joan, a devout Catholic, would embrace this, but she would argue that we must have faith that God will look after us; the outcome is ultimately God’s will. Yes, of course it is, but God also looks after us by putting measures in place to protect us, and he does expect us to do our part.

We are all called to care for our neighbor, protecting them in this way is such a small thing; it just makes sense to me.

Margery Frisch

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