“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” is a quote in the 1967 movie “Cool Hand Luke.” Those words have echoed in my mind frequently over the past month. I believe I have re-read Mr. Ladam’s comments under “Special shopping for stupid jerks” (Reader Opinion, May 18) 20 plus times.

Every time I see a response about masks, the tragedies of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, or witness another group taking a knee (do they understand why?), I consider how valuable accurate communication, compassion and listening to words like “I can’t breathe” should create a response to be understood. We should improve our compassion to each other.

When I read Mr. Ladam’s letter, I didn’t hear what Mr. Stanton (May 27) or Ms. Verville (May 28) had to address. I read that Mr. Ladam is in the “higher susceptibility” bracket of over 60; he is appreciative of 90 percent of customers with masks on, and suggests that “stupid aggressive jerks” can shop mask-free and pay a 20 percent higher rate to protect the essential staff working to keep stores open. Communication counts.

I am not one, nor do I know many, who celebrate going out into public so they can wear their masks. Many recent encounters give me the impression many people feel the threat is over. It is not. If someone perceives they are at a higher risk, if a child of 7 or 8 has asthma, or someone without a spleen walks past you, it won’t reveal itself as you brush past them. As an asymptomatic carrier, you could contaminate others who are more susceptible needlessly.

Dr. Brosseau, retired professor of UIC and industrial hygiene consultant, dislikes masks for all. Her major concerns appear to be that people will feel overconfident with a mask and not adhere to the more important social distancing protocols. The CDC recommends masks for all to prevent inadvertent contamination of others. The WHO reversed their policy a few days ago and now believes it necessary to use masks for all.

The bottom line for me, as cited by Dr. Brosseau’s words: masks have different levels of protections as PPE, source and home protections. It doesn’t hurt to wear a mask. Understand it doesn’t make you impervious but may protect others. And finally, it is okay to stay that we’re still gathering evidence. What science reveals tomorrow may change how we survive this virus.

Permanent change to our society must start in our own hearts. Communicate understanding.


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