I retired as a pharmacist/health care professional seven years ago after practicing for 40 years. 

During my career in various professional settings, I worked with the members of my communities for them to achieve maximum benefits from their medication, and avoid PREVENTABLE issues such as drug interactions and adverse drug events.

I worked each day to uphold the Socratic Oath and the Pharmacist’s Professional Ethics and Code of Conduct which are the foundation of my profession.

The last 13 years of employment were spent with an organization that used evidence based medicine to impact the prescribing habits of its physicians and provide the most efficient and cost effective therapies for its members.

At 73, I am in the age group considered the highest risk for being infected by Covid-19. I have been diligently sheltering in place. When I do venture outside I am acutely aware of my social and personal responsibility: I wear a mask and maintain social distancing no matter how inconvenient that may be.

However, in my ventures into the community, watching news reports and seeing the number of preventable cases increase astronomically, I am saddened, disappointed and sometimes angered as a parent and professional by public safety disregard shown by younger adults since the reopening of states across the country.

Some facts to consider:

  • The country reopened for business too soon: Since reopening there has been a nationwide surge in Covid cases tied to this activity.
  • The age of the vulnerable population has significantly been lowered since reopening: Where younger adults were considered ‘safe’ in the beginning of the pandemic, newer cases have skyrocketed in ages 18-50.
  • This increase is believed to be due to the lack of masking and social distancing in crowds taking place in bars, clubs, and indoor social gatherings. All in the name of partying like is it 1999.
  • To confirm this, a recent study showed that in areas where masking was recommended and not required, there was an 84% increases in cases. Where masking was required and adhered to, there was a 25% decrease in cases. The evidence indicates the value of masking and maintaining social distancing.

The silent nature of this virus is removed when people become sick. They show symptoms, are obviously ill and we initiate steps to help them get better.

It is considered silent because so many are walking around without any overt symptoms. When you go to the bar without following the simple recommended precautions (mask + distance), not knowing whether you or someone in your circle of friends is carrying the virus, you are unduly exposing everyone there and contributing to the spread of the virus. 

It is not a 1:1 infection curve; 1 unsuspecting individual can be responsible for passing the virus to many friends and family unwittingly. That drives the numbers up exponentially. Have you heard the story of the 16 friends who went out together and all eventually tested positive?

Yes, when I walk everyday and go out it is inconvenient to 1) Remember to take my mask before I leave the house and 2) Feel out of breath when I get that dose of CO2, or 3) Cross over to the other side of the street/stand on an X marks the spot in a store waiting for service.

However, the masking and social distance are simple activities to ensure my health, the health of my family and the members of my community in the face of the worst scourge facing society in over 100 years.

A few similar scenarios:

Are you old  enough to remember “No shoes, no shirt, no service?” We all seem to be able to understand and get along with that.

We visit the doctor when ill; is it a personal affront or infringement of my rights when they write a prescription? Or do we realize the doctor has our best interests in mind and wants to see us get healthy?  

Is that not similar to national/respected infectious disease specialists who recommend masking, avoiding crowds and distancing to stay healthy and calm the spread of the novel virus?

 There are ordinances against smoking to prevent second hand smoke inhalation by non-smokers in certain venues. Yeah, I know those smokers out there put up a long and loud fight, but eventually they saw the value of such action.

Mask and distance to protect yourself and others from exposure when inside venues?

In today’s environment, we tend to make many issues political when not needed.We need to take a step back and realize that the worldwide pandemic is a PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE, not a political one.

 Is there truly a reason for me to feel less patriotic than my neighbor because I wear a mask in public and social distance, while they choose not to do so? 

I have a patriotic responsibility to do everything within my personal power to mitigate the spread of this disease. Following simple guidelines to protect myself and others is not selfish or self centered when so many lives other than mine are at stake….. as well as the fact that the increase in cases and deaths is PREVENTABLE!

Masking and distancing is the best we’ve got until there is some form of treatment for this virus.

Lastly, I mentioned that I had concerns as a parent as well as a professional. 

I have two daughters, age 42 and 39 who are now in the latest high risk population. Their mom and I raised them to be responsible citizens, make reasonable decisions and be considerate of other human beings and the environment around them. As I write this I am proud of the fine young women they have become.

That being said, I would be heartbroken if they had been exposed or infected by the virus. Especially if this was due to not masking/social distancing in public, or in a social situation where they or their friends had such little regard for one another that they felt too inconvenienced to follow any safety guidelines.

As with all posts I create, I welcome constructive comments.

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