The Hammonton Gazette
Perspective/Effects of wearing masks
Most, if not all, medical decisions have trade-offs. The medicine that heals also injures. The surgery that repairs also damages. To prove this, just watch a commercial for a new drug. In the same breath the announcer will extol the benefits of the breakthrough treatment while warning that you might die by taking it. There is no free lunch, even in the exalted world of medicine and doctors.
The wearing of masks is one of those medical decisions with trade-offs. Most people intuitively believe that a mask offers a modicum of protection from disease. It’s hard to argue against that assumption, yet we are told that in wearing a mask we are mostly protecting others, not ourselves. Some may argue to the contrary; and some simply feel safer wearing a mask.
Medical officials told us early in the pandemic that we should not rush out and buy masks for they were unneeded by the public. They told us later that they had wanted to ensure the medical community's supply of masks—hence the white lie—but now we all should definitely wear them. The problem with telling lies, as any schoolchild knows, is that no one will know afterwards when you’re telling the truth. Perhaps that’s a trade-off medical professionals felt they had to make: one doctor told me exactly that. Well, that trade-off includes the fact that now the public can’t treat medical advice as infallible — possibly a good development.
But the most significant trade-off of masks, the one which is too costly, is the alienation from others they cause. Not being able to see another’s face unobstructed is not just an inconvenience; it is akin to losing one’s sight or hearing. The emotional and relational disability masks promote is an intolerable burden. Humans need to connect with others and it’s through our faces that this primarily happens. Our faces communicate our emotions and our attitudes. Smiles can avert conflicts and express kindness. Our countenance can tell others that we are suffering and need their help. Human connection is too precious to mask.
The most important place where human connection is desperately needed is at a medical facility. When our health is threatened, we are understandably frightened. Although we have been disappointed by medical professionals’ white lies, we need these professionals; and most of them are heroes, working sacrificially for the well-being of others. We need to see their faces and they need to see ours. A medical facility should be a warm environment, a quintessential place of human connection. The trade-offs mandated by government officials in ordering the wearing of masks in medical facilities are too costly.
Talk to your medical professional and urge them to put the need for human connection over shaky science and political expediency. Our medical heroes have a unique responsibility for shaping public policy and are in the very best position to influence it.
Pastor/Director - Life Mission Fellowship