Mask up

The Gondolier Sun mask of Editor Scott Lawson after it was handed out recently.

OUR POSITION: Too many people are making the coronavirus a political issue. That has to stop.

It’s a shame, and dangerous, that the coronavirus has taken on political overtones.

Maybe you think it has not become political. We wish you were right, but the evidence says otherwise.

It starts with our leadership and the mask issue.

Of course, the refusal of President Donald Trump to wear a mask is telling. Trump even urges those at his rallies and speeches not to wear a mask.

His loyal following — and there are millions — take his lead. Some continue to claim the coronavirus is a hoax. This is unbelievable.

The United States leads the world in infections and deaths per capita, but some stubbornly claim it is some type of move by Democrats to tilt the coming election against the President.

Charlotte County commissioners last week entertained the idea of some type of ordinance or executive order to have everyone mask up. That didn’t go far at all. Of course — and we agree with them — the idea would be very difficult to enforce. As we suggested last week — as did Commissioner Ken Doherty — it is really up to business owners to take a stand on wearing a mask.

But while the all-Republican County Commission barely considered the idea to force masks, officials in St. Petersburg, Tampa and heavily Democratic enclaves in Miami-Dade County passed such ordinances.

Two speakers at last week’s Charlotte County Commission meeting couldn’t have stated the two sides to the controversy better.

As told in a Sun story by Betsy Calvert, 72-year-old Sally Simon told commissioners she is in favor of masking. “I’m on every hit list. I consider it in the nature of a potential attack. I don’t care about conspiracy agendas. Just help me keep myself alive.”

Simon represents a majority of Charlotte County residents inasmuch as she is over the age of 65 — a category that is most vulnerable to COVID-19. She realizes that no matter how cautious she is, she could come into contact with a person who does not wear a mask. Maybe that person is younger and does not fear infection. But a close encounter in a grocery store is all it could take to send Simon to a local ICU.

Another speaker, Michael Zarzano, said a New England Journal of Medicine article/letter said masks do not help.

“We are going to destroy the American economy for less than 1% of the population,” he charged.

Where have we heard that before?

It should be noted, as Calvert did in her story, that the NEJM came out last to object to its article being used to argue against masks and advocated for the use of masks in social gatherings.

Employees of Sun Coast Media Group are now required to wear a mask every minute they are at work. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s best.

We can almost hear the comments now. Liberal media people wear masks. They are part of the conspiracy against the president and Republicans.

That prevailing attitude is difficult to stamp out. It would be much better if we weren’t debating and making something that is a threat to people’s lives into a political issue.

One thing we guarantee you, COVID-19 doesn’t care what political party you belong to or who you’re going to vote for. It is totally unbiased as to who it infects.


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