It’s Time for the Truth

We’re sick of talking about COVID-19.

But let’s talk about it, anyway.

Because we can’t NOT talk about it. Cases nationally are surging – only two states, Missouri and Vermont, saw a decrease in new cases this week. Here in Lebanon County infections are going up too. We’ve now topped our new cases number. Hospitalizations, likewise, are going back up. Deaths, as we all know, will follow.

There are enough data available to us, and experts who are willing to offer guidance, to support the following guidance.

Individuals should:

😷 Wear a mask (properly)

😷 Wash their hands frequently

😷 Watch their distance

The government should:

💉Ensure widespread rapid-results testing

💉Establish contact-tracing

💉Enable quarantining for positive cases and contacts

Right now, estimates of mask-wearing indicate about 50% of people are doing it. But experts say we need that number to be near 80% for it to be truly effective. Plus, it only works in conjunction with the rest of these steps. No single step alone is enough. For example, the White House relied primarily on rapid-results testing. We all saw how that turned out.

Here in the 102, Representative Diamond continues to push the narrative that masks are ineffective at best, dangerous at worst. The sources he cites are misrepresentations of the science, and can only lead one to conclude that either (a) he is scientifically illiterate or (b) he is politicizing his response in order to garner attention/support. Ultimately the reason doesn’t matter, but the results do – and the results are more cases in Lebanon County, more hospitalizations, and more damage to our health and our businesses.

If you’re a career politician, then making this a political matter may be useful. It may result in more votes, or greater personal popularity. For me, it’s more important that I tell you the truth and do what I can to make our community safe – even if it’s not popular with some of the voters in the 102. Public health and safety should always trump politics.

Here’s the truth: it IS entirely up to you whether you wear a mask or not. But we need to stop allowing people to pretend that we don’t know whether it’s effective or not. We need to stop pretending that masks may be harmful to wear. We need to stop acting like the leaders who are encouraging mask wearing – including Republicans like Mike DeWine and now Chris Christie, and Democrats like Tom Wolf and Joe Biden – are doing so as part of some hoax or conspiracy to deprive you of your rights. The best data we have available right now, along with many global case studies, indicate that these are the things to keep our community healthy and allow our economy to resume business.

And we need leaders who will tell us the truth and listen to the experts.