Kudos to the Venice City Council — well, to the four-sevenths of the Council that voted both for a mask ordinance and for extending it.

Mayor Ron Feinsod and Council members Rich Cautero, Mitzi Fiedler and Helen Moore have received both praise and criticism for doing what they — and we — consider the right thing to combat the coronavirus until a vaccine is available.

Feinsod in particular has been the target of people opposed to masks, accused of imposing some Democratic agenda on the city.

The allegation is false for several reasons, including that Feinsod has no greater authority than any other member of the Council to get an ordinance passed. He didn’t even make or second the motion to have the ordinance drafted.

The people pushing this attack are implying some collusion among the four, which would be a violation of the Sunshine Law. That’s a serious matter for which there is no evidence.

The fact such accusations are flying around shows the ridiculous degree to which the simple act of putting a mask on has become politicized.

Most people either believe masks are essential to controlling the coronavirus or that they’re utterly useless and potentially harmful.

We’re in the “essential” camp because that’s where the science points us.

Yes, a few doctors dispute the value of a mask. Usually, they’re not infectious disease specialists or they’re starting from an anti-mask position and justifying it.

Yes, there are people for whom wearing a mask could be risky. They get a pass. The rest of us can cope.

Yes, masks aren’t perfect. You know what else doesn’t work 100% of the time? Seat belts.

In 2016, according to a National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration report, seat belt use was at about 90%, thanks in part to laws requiring it. The estimated 10% of people who didn’t use seat belts accounted for 48% of the fatalities in crashes. And car crashes are not contagious.

Yes, we know the package you get your masks in specifically says they’re not protection against viruses. That’s called a disclaimer. If you made masks, would you guarantee your product would keep someone from contracting a potentially fatal disease?

Yes, we know you think you have a right not to wear a mask. You don’t.

At least 14 lawsuits have been filed challenging a local mask ordinance in the state. In every case that’s been decided the ordinance has been affirmed.

Yes, we know the fatality rate for COVID-19 is “only” 3% in the county and 2% statewide. But we also know that there’s a huge gap between being asymptomatic and dying, in which some people are very, very sick, with symptoms lingering for months in some cases.

Yes, the incidence of the coronavirus is lower than during the spike over the summer. Wearing a mask will help keep it that way, especially now, with schools back in session, snowbirds about to return, the weather turning cooler shortly and flu season on the way.

Relaxing precautions would be like having dieted and exercised to achieve your desired weight, then pigging out and becoming a couch potato again.

That’s kind of what happened when the state “reopened” before. We’re still dealing with the consequences.

Mask up.


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