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Letter to the Editor

Wear a mask

To the editor: Oh, wow. Another death in our community from COVID-19. Another family in profound grief. It could have been me. It could have been you or someone you love. And the cases keep going up and up.

Governor Dunleavy is waiting until the infection rate gets worse before putting out a mask mandate. How much worse? Until I get it? Or you get it? Or your family member? Or until it starts decimating our rural communities, which have limited health care? Fort Yukon is getting hit hard by COVID-19 and has only one doctor and a health aide. Where will those folks go if they need a hospital? Will there be a bed available?

Research is showing that airborne transmission is the primary means of transmission of this virus, and it’s estimated that if 95% of us are masked and we practice physical distancing, we can flatten the curve again.

I could be positive but asymptomatic and never get sick, or presymptomatic before I get sick. You too. In either case, we could pass the virus on to others through droplets while coughing or sneezing and even with tiny aerosol particles from talking or breathing. If someone is positive and not masked, the virus aerosol from a cough or sneeze can go out over 15 feet, well over the 6 feet of recommended distance. If a person in front of them is masked, the mask cuts down how much virus that person inhales. If both people are masked, and distancing, the transmission is low. So protect yourself, your family, and the rest of us too, by joining the vast majority of Americans wearing a mask every time they are in public.

And if you are already routinely wearing a mask, thank you. If you would like to see everyone wearing one, contact Governor Dunleavy at https://gov.alaska.gov and Fairbanks Mayor Matherly at https://www.fairbanksalaska.us/mayor, and ask them to put in mask mandates before we have more illness and deaths. If you are not wearing a mask, please reconsider. Don’t risk your family joining the now 150,000 U.S. families in grief.

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