Letter to the Editor: In Response to Adrienne Varner’s Letter to the Editor


Adrienne Varner’s letter cheering on Governor Youngkin’s dangerous and terribly timed effort to make masks optional in schools amid another spike in Covid cases reminded me of the old question, “Have not I a right to swing my arm?” and the retort, “Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins.”

The same logic applies to the duty to protect oneself and others by simply wearing a high-quality mask to limit virus transmission inside shared spaces until Covid cases plummet.

Anyone who breathes outside during the winter sees how lungs push out tiny droplets that can contain the coronavirus. Masks greatly reduce the number of potentially dangerous respiratory droplets for others to breathe in, and they protect the wearer from other peoples’ respiratory droplets too.
Politics aside, let’s review a few facts:

In less than two years, the global pandemic has killed more than 16,000 Virginians, more than 877,000 Americans and more than 5.6 million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Millions more suffer the debilitating effects of long Covid.

More than 150,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid.

More than 3,000 Americans died on both Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 — more than 9/11’s death toll each day!

When faced with more death and illness, or wearing masks inside as part of broader public health strategies that include the miraculous vaccines, why would anyone opt for more death and illness?

As this pandemic drags on, every unmasked person in a shared space creates more unnecessary risk of spreading Covid’s death and misery.

Like seat belts, stop signs and speed limits, wearing masks inside shared spaces is a perfectly reasonable practice in a civil society to protect lives during a once-in-a-century pandemic until the case rates drop significantly.

Grown-ups and kids, please wear a mask when you’re inside a shared space. Do it to protect yourself. Do it out of a sense of duty to protect your fellow citizens, including vulnerable kids, seniors, and immunocompromised people. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Dave Gustafson
Falls Church