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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

It’s Past Time for Ketchikan to Mandate Masks

By Ghert Abbott


June 26, 2020
Friday PM

Following the events of last week, it is clear that a single COVID-19 sufferer disregarding the existing state restrictions is all that it takes to threaten an outbreak with “wide community spread.” In light of this fact, the question naturally comes to mind: why hasn’t the City Council and the Borough Assembly passed ordinances mandating the wearing of facial masks?

With the premature end of most lockdowns, COVID-19 infections are once again increasing across the country, including in California, Oregon, and Washington state. A COVID-19 vaccine is nowhere on the horizon and is likely several years away, so our town will be dealing with this health threat for some time to come. More COVID-19 cases will come here and slip through our state’s inadequate detection system – it is a simple inevitability. When that happens, it would be better for Ketchikan if there was an additional line of defense against “wide community spread” in the form of universal mask wearing. A number of U.S. states, cities, and towns have already implemented mandatory mask laws or are preparing to do so.

It’s possible our local officials are hesitant because the President and his administration have decided to make masks “controversial.” This demonizing of masks is based on the flawed belief that fear of the virus is a greater economic and social threat to the country than the virus itself. But as we saw last week, what is really undercutting all attempts to restore economic and social normalcy is the ever present threat of renewed COVID-19 outbreaks. What will both protect and reassure people is a very consistent and public measure that will help prevent the virus from spreading throughout our community: namely, mask wearing becoming the new normal. For this to happen to the necessary degree and length, it will require the support of law.

Ghert Abbott,
Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received June 20, 2020 - Published June 26, 2020

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