So, you're not wearing a mask in public? I've seen you out there. I've seen you in the stores, restaurants, bars and even the schools. Why do you not wear one? If someone should ask why you're not, what do you say? Do you say anything? Perhaps you've just haven't had the time to formulate an excuse. Let me help you with that.

But first, let's establish some ground rules, or facts, if you will:

— Fact one: COVID-19 is an airborne virus. That means when you breathe, you could inhale viral droplets. These can infect your lungs. Infected lungs don't work so well.

— Fact two: COVID-19 has killed almost 200,000 U.S. citizens since last March. That's almost 200,000 deaths in seven months. This is not your average case of influenza.

Possible excuse No. 1: I don't wear a mask because I doubt it's effective. After all, two out of a hundred scientists, including those holding degrees from highly respected Caribbean institutions of medicine, support this claim. Isn't it enough to say that 2% of all the medical and scientific community supports the claim that masks just don't work? Darn it! I can't accept that line of reasoning as a split decision on the efficacy of mask-wearing? Let me try something else ...

Possible excuse No. 2: I don't wear a mask because it is too uncomfortable. Wait a minute! I already used that one when referring to wearing seat belts and bike helmets. Those have been proven to save lives and it's against the law not to wear a seatbelt. Perhaps I can find some other excuse...

Possible excuse No. 3: I don't wear a mask because it makes me look like a Democrat. Alas, I am tribal and I just can't accept something my leader doesn't do or recommend. He believes in herd mentality (maybe he meant herd immunity). I guess that means that I am willing to wait while millions more are infected, and hundreds of thousands of more die. Wow! This is sounding like the saddest excuse of them all.

Sorry, but I can't find a good excuse for you. Maybe you'll just have to get a mask and wear it if you can't think of a better excuse than any that I offer. But, please, remember fact two and this final fact: Nov. 3 is an election day. This will be our chance to find a leader who believes in all science and medicine. Please elect someone who doesn't need an excuse for not wearing a mask. Let me suggest voting for Biden, Harris, Greenfield, Hart and Gaskill. They get it!

Greg Kenning, Ottumwa

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