MICHIGAN EXECUTIVE ORDER 2010-110 seems explicit:
“Any person who leaves his or her home or place of residence must: Wear a face covering over his or her nose and mouth…when in any enclosed public space, unless the individual is unable medically to tolerate a face covering.”
And yet virtually all of us have been in businesses recently where customers–and even employees in some cases–are not wearing masks. It’s unlikely that most of them have medical excuses.
So what gives?
Reasons include 1) You’re not gonna tell me what to do… 2) Our president doesn’t need one so neither do I…3) They’re uncomfortable…4) We don’t have a problem in the UP so we don’t need them…5) They’re useless, they can’t stop the pandemic.
“It is unfortunate that this has become such a lightning rod issue,” says Dr. Kevin Piggott, the chief medical officer for Marquette County.
He concedes that early on in the pandemic, health officials were telling us that regular, healthy folks didn’t need masks, but he and others say that’s because they wanted to make sure there wasn’t a shortage of masks for healthcare professionals and those who were at high risk.
Now, Dr. Piggott says, the evidence is clear: masks help lessen the spread of COVID-19. A study published two weeks ago clearly showed that states mandating the wearing of masks had a greater decline in COVID cases than states that didn’t mandate masks. A substantial decline.
Dr. Kevin Piggott providing counsel for county residents on TV6.
And yet, some of us are taking a more casual approach to masks–even though we’re hearing that cases are spiking in two dozen other states.
“I believe it’s an indication of our ‘pandemic fatigue,” Dr. Piggott says. “The problem is, the SARS-coV-2 virus is not fatigued. To let down our guard is an invitation for a surge in the transmission of this virus.”
So how do we counter this trend of easing up on mask wearing? Report the violators? That doesn’t seem to be happening.
“I haven’t heard of any complaints about masks being made to our officers,” says Sheriff Greg Zyburt.
Apparently it’s up to us–to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces, and to insist that others do the same.
The need will become more crucial in the months ahead as tourists from some “hot spots” arrive in the UP, and NMU students return to campus in August. Greater mobility generally results in a greater spread of the virus.
Perhaps the single most important piece of good news we’ve received in the last few months is this: the recent testing of 988 people at the Berry Events Center revealed that only four of them–less than 1/2 percent–tested positive for COVID. And one of those was a repeat case, and another was from out-of-state.
Nationally, the positive rate is about 7%. In Florida recently, it’s been 17%, and in Texas, it’s been 14%.
Here? One half of one percent. A point of pride.
And masks can help help keep it that way.