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Editorial: Do your part and wear a mask
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Editorial

Editorial: Do your part and wear a mask

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At least 39 human beings living in Scott and Rock Island counties have died from COVID-19.

It’s a stunning number, really, and one worth pausing to reflect upon. Every one represents a family who lost a loved one.

The death toll is still rising in the Quad-Cities, where more than 1,570 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus. After a plateau, cases are surging again. In Scott County, early June saw two to four cases reported daily, and in the past week, that has increased to eight or more.

"We are telling health systems to be prepared to be ready for a surge," Dr. Louis Katz, an infectious disease specialist and medical director at the Scott County Health Department, said last week.

Local health experts say one major reason for the spike is because people, especially the young, are not using face coverings.

Face coverings, including masks, experts say, are the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus, along with frequent hand-washing and social distancing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines for face coverings on Sunday. The CDC now recommends face coverings be worn in public and when around anyone who doesn’t live in your house.

Wearing a mask or other type of face covering is more about protecting others than it is protecting yourself. That’s because masks block potentially infectious air particles from skyrocketing into the air around you.

If you’re not wearing a face covering, you may be allowing the virus to spread to anyone who comes close enough to your cough, sneeze or even just your breath. In effect, people who don’t wear masks are creating the same kind of public health jeopardy posed when anti-vaxers don’t get their shots.

We applaud those who are doing their part. That includes numerous businesses on both sides of the river that require their employees to wear face coverings. We encourage every business to do the same – and to consider requiring customers wear face coverings, as well. After all we've already sacrificed, that last thing we want is to backslide. 

Regardless of policy, folks should wear face coverings out of a sense of duty. This virus has been unprecedented. The sooner we get on board and behind the latest science, the sooner we can beat this thing.

To us, wearing a mask out and about for the time being seems a small price to pay if it means we can prevent more death. In respect to the 39 Quad-Citians who’ve already died — and to prevent another devastating loss for a local family — please, consider a mask.

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