Joe Barbieri ’23
Last Friday, President Donald Trump sent shockwaves across the country by announcing in an early morning tweet that he and First Lady Melania Trump had indeed tested positive for the coronavirus.
The president and the first lady were not the only ones who recently announced that they had been infected, as many White House officials including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, communications director Hope Hicks, and former counselor Kellyane Conway also tested positive for coronavirus.
The apparent cause of the outbreak was a ceremony in the Rose Garden held to officially nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Seating was not socially distanced and many people attending the event remained maskless.
The president’s diagnosis highlights an important point: coronavirus does not discriminate. If it can infect the president, it can infect anyone.
In the wake of this shocking news, we must put politics aside for this brief moment and come together to pray for the president and everyone else who has been stricken by this terrible virus. As Americans, their recovery is ours as well.
However, this outbreak in the most secure area in the world shows that everyone should continue to adhere to guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield reiterated the importance of wearing a mask during testimony before a Senate subcommittee saying that “face masks, these face masks, are the most important powerful public health tool we have” and that he will “continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings.”
Dr. Redfield even went so far as to say that a mask may be more effective at preventing coronavirus than a potential vaccine asserting that “if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me, but this face mask will.”
These are challenging times for everyone and while everyone can agree that wearing a mask is uncomfortable, it is also your civic duty to protect not only yourself but your fellow citizens.
By wearing a mask, you are telling others around you that you care about their safety and wellbeing. You are showing others that you have genuine empathy. And in the wake of this terrible, terrible year, I think that is what the world needs more of now: genuine empathy.
There are of course those who argue that wearing a mask impedes your freedom and that it can even be considered as a symbol of tyranny.
To respond to these assertions, I am simply left dumbfounded.
One who says that wearing a simple face constitutes being oppressed obviously has never been oppressed! As a matter of fact, it is a privilege to have masks available at our disposal, as certain places around the world would give anything to be able to wear a mask.
By refusing to wear a mask, you are also saying that you believe that you are better than everyone. You are saying that your comfort is more important than someone’s life. Lastly, you are saying that there is no chance that coronavirus infects you.
As the president’s recent diagnosis shows, no one is exempt from catching this virus.
Until a vaccine is found, everyone in this country must follow these guidelines. While everyone is certainly tired of these troubling times, your decisions certainly have repercussions. In some cases, it could be life or death.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a recent webinar with Holy Cross students, “we’ve got to make sure we appreciate that this is going to end. We’re going to get a vaccine, we’re going to get it in a reasonable amount of time. Don’t give up hope”.
So, if you want to truly be a patriot and show your genuine love for America, do so by wearing a mask.