I’m not a medical professional. Given the last science experiment I conducted was intended for an audience of a three year-old —and included a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke and a roll of Mentos — I wouldn’t exactly say I have a working knowledge of that field, either. We’re all capable of going online to find articles or studies to share that support our beliefs but, if your mind is already made up, does it even matter? Instead of exhausting all of us, I’m not going to bother trying to speak to those who “know” they know better. I can state facts, quote doctors and scientists, or show charts and graphs. I won’t. Instead I’m just going to try and speak from the heart to reach any of you who remain undecided. We must stay home. Yes, I’m going stir crazy. I’m healthy, have no fever or cough. And did I mention the stir crazy part? I understand the temptation. What could one little trip out hurt? Yet I don’t go. I stay home with my husband and toddler son. In our house that now feels a little more cramped than it did a month ago. Staying home is all I have to do. While some of my friends are working the front lines in hospitals, separated from their families and doing their jobs with limited resources, I just sit on my couch. That’s it, nothing more that the majority of us have to do. I stay home because I could be sick with no symptoms. I stay home because other people I come into contact with could be sick with no symptoms. I stay home because very well-educated and brilliant experts tell us it’s the best thing we can do right now. However, every day I see people posting photos on social media of outings, or telling tales of where they went. The reasons are different, but the actions are the same. Ignoring warnings and recommendations, eschewing social distancing and possibly exposing themselves or others to COVID-19. One person went with a group to get sandwiches. “Look at us, doing our part to support small businesses,” the photo of six was captioned. This wasn’t a family of six, it was six friends. Six friends from different homes, exposing each other to possibly nothing, but maybe the virus. True, no one was hugging each other, but they certainly weren’t keeping the suggested six-foot distance from one another either. And those six individuals walked into a sandwich shop to order their meals. “Don’t worry, the workers all had masks on,” the caption continued. Was anyone worried about the staff? The comments were worse. “You are heroes!” “Stimulating the economy, way to go!” “So brave risking your health to support small businesses!” I was shocked, Angered. Heroes? Not in my book. Then there was the one who argued that our rights are being taken away. That we should be able to choose if we want to go out or not, and face our own “consequences.” What about those who are working right now, who have no choice? Should they also be subject to any consequences if you get them sick? And if you end up in the hospital, what then? Those are your “consequences” the doctors and nurses are risking their lives to treat. Maybe you’re bored or lonely. Perhaps you don’t know anyone who’s sick and don’t think it could happen to you. Or, it could be that you refuse to believe this is as serious as it is. This virus can live undetected inside of you. It can be spread quickly. And people are dying. If you go out for nonessential needs you’re risking the lives of everyone you come into contact with, not to mention your own. You’re not entitled to that sandwich simply because you want it. And you’re not single-handedly saving the economy. If you want to help a small business, buy an online gift card. No one is stealing your rights, just trying to keep you safe. And alive. Please. Stay home.
Written by Masks for Heroes Founder, Becky Viera