To mask, or not to mask. Choose wisely before they decide for you.

A heads up before I start.

Certain parts of this article may sound like I’m repeating myself, but I hoped I wouldn’t need to.

Over the weekend, I read a few articles about the return of wearing masks to curb the spread of viruses in the community.

To be blunt, hospital beds and ERs are filling up again primarily due to flu season, respiratory infections, and that pesky Covid thing that the media seemingly forgot.

For the past several months, local media have LOVED saying, “this is their first event in two years, or since the pandemic.” Something along those lines.

I get it. Part of your job, and to an extent, mine, is to keep people informed about what’s happening in our city, including events. During the newscast, families, and individuals are interviewed, saying how great it is to have the event back and that life is either returning to normal or is back to normal.

While, yes, on the surface, certain aspects of our lives may be closer to “normal,” I assure you that for many, life is not back to normal and may never be.

I apologize (not entirely) for the grim statement, but it’s a reality that many are facing. Also, as a person with a disability, who is ventilator dependent, Covid hits home a little harder for me. I also know several people, both PWD, and able-bodied people, that are continuing to test positive.

We can all sit here and play the blame game. We could blame the anti-maskers/vaxxers, careless people, schools allowing students not to wear masks, and the list goes on.

What I haven’t seen much of, though, is people blaming the media. I don’t often see interviews that show someone blaming media outlets for sending mixed messages or for other reasons.

With the exception being during the occupation.

The media is known for sending mixed messages, giving us false ideas about our community and world, and coming across as hypocrites.

For example, I often see newscasts discussing events returning after the pandemic and embracing the lack of restrictions. Immediately following that story, the newscasters are talking about how Covid cases are rising again, and hospitals are overloaded again.

Is it no wonder that many are confused, which leads to people ignoring the news. There are also people that I call news-zombies. By my definition, news-zombies believe everything they hear or read, including the story they're consuming, which contradicts the previous report.

We live in a world where we must be told what to do. Many of us can no longer think for ourselves, and others get upset and lash out when we do.

For further evidence, follow the inquiry regarding the occupation or just go on Social Media for less than two minutes.

When it comes to wearing a mask, outside of medical appointments, I haven’t worn one in a long time. As I’ve previously mentioned, wearing a mask really affects my ability to communicate face-to-face. In general, most people have a difficult time understanding my voice. So, yes, I haven’t been wearing a mask recently, and an added communication barrier is the reason.

I have no problem with the “hassles” of wearing a mask or taking it off. The ones who complain about that are, to put it lightly, not my kind of people. The exceptions are PWD and those with unique medical issues who either can’t wear a mask, are physically unable to take it off if they need a drink, or it affects their ability to communicate.

For those that complain about the “hassles” of wearing masks or that our “free-dumbs” are being ignored. Consider this…

Last week, we remembered and honoured those who physically fought and sacrificed greatly and made the ultimate sacrifice for US and our FREEDOMS.

The absolute very least that we should be doing, when possible, when we’re in a crowded indoor space, is to wear a mask. After all, what is the point of having freedom if we can’t do one simple thing so that we can all enjoy it?

Let’s be honest; there’s no such thing as total freedom. We all have things in our lives that we must do, often, in order to maintain our freedoms.

That’s just the way things work.

I’m sure many of us don’t want to see the return of a mask mandate. I certainly don’t. The best way to avoid a repeat is by CHOOSING to wear a mask before we are told or mandated to wear one.

With the holidays fast approaching, do you want to be stuck at home again, unable to see your friends, elderly parents or grandparents? Worse yet, knowing that a long-term care home has an outbreak, and you may never see your parents or grandparents alive again?

That’s what we have to look forward to if we don’t wear masks in crowded indoor spaces.

While you’re at it, if possible, get the flu shot and the bivalent vaccine.

Also, if you feel sick, stay home if you can. If you need to go to work, wear a mask.

By encouraging you to think for yourself but then sharing my opinions and suggestions may make me seem like a hypocrite.

In my defence, I do my best to speak from my heart and experiences instead of reading a script. I genuinely care about people and the world we live in.

And I also really hope that you can come back again, right here, next Monday, or whenever you can.

Photo: iStock