By Letter to the Editor on September 17, 2020.
There are some anti-maskers in every community. There may be a variety of reasons why they are against wearing masks but I believe the one which I hear most often is that it limits their personal freedom. And I can’t disagree with that. It is a restriction on one’s freedom. So is being regulated to wear seatbelts in vehicles. So is the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. In both cases, both fatalities and injuries decreased after the respective laws came into effect and persons started using the restraints and helmets.
Health care in Canada is not free. Taxes pay for it. If you pay taxes then you’re paying for health care. And you’re not required to pull out a chequebook if you are booked into a hospital. Health-care costs decreased from road and highway mishaps after these laws came into effect. The government was helping to protect the public purse by instituting these laws even though it was a restriction on personal freedom.
Wearing face masks is not meant to save the wearer from the coronavirus. The wearing of a mask is meant to protect others from the germs or the virus of the mask wearer. Persons in the vicinity of a mask wearer are not protected from all the germs and/or viruses which the mask wearer possesses but they are protected from the vast majority exhaled by the wearer.
There are persons in our society who are carriers of the Covid-19 virus and don’t realize it. They are called asymptomatic carriers: they have the virus but they show no signs or minimal symptoms of having the virus. However, when they are in close proximity to others, they spread the virus (usually unknowingly) when not wearing a face mask. Therefore, for the good of society and to help reduce health-care costs these minimal restrictions on personal freedom are not only a smart step in the prevention of the spread of the virus but also warranted municipal legislation.
There’s an old saying that your freedom to throw your fists about ends where my nose begins. And your freedom to not wear a mask ends when I am in your presence. I and the rest of society don’t want our health and our health-care dollars to be impaired just because you think your personal freedom is being somewhat restricted.