Picture yourself, taking Grandma to the store briefly, with her own mask and gloves on. She’s happy to just get out after being inside for months. The sign outside the store says that masks are required for anyone entering the premises. You have yours on. Then some aggressive guy comes up next to you, not wearing a mask. A store employee stops him and he pulls out the fake card saying he doesn’t have to wear one under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This suggests somehow that he has an imaginary condition that is a “disability” so he can’t wear one. The store employee falls for it. This guy elbows past everyone. You see him cough in the store and he doesn’t even cover his cough in his elbow. Could he transmit the virus to your Grandma?
Yes, he could, whether he coughs or not. He could have the virus and feel well, no sign of illness. So he thinks he’s fine and he doesn’t care about anyone else. But he could infect your loved one at any time, just by breathing out, talking or arguing with a store employee. Droplets are carried on our breath and can easily spread Covid-19.
Some will stop at nothing to get out of taking the simplest of protections that can help keep our vulnerable aging parents safer from Covid-19. They’ve gone so far as to create fraudulent cards on the internet that have a fake Justice Department seal saying the person doesn’t have to wear a mask. This is supposedly because of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). No such cards were ever issued from the Federal government, Justice or ADA. They are some reckless person’s idea of a way to get out of what many states now require, which is that everyone should wear a mask in public.
It is true that a significant enough segment of our population still believes that Covid-19 is not real. And there are plenty of folks who believe that the idea of wearing a mask is an infringement on their personal freedom. It is indeed an infringement but one which puts the public safety above one’s personal interest or beliefs.
Every public health expert and infectious disease expert says the same thing: mask wearing protects other susceptible people from you who could have the coronavirus without symptoms and without knowing you are a carrier. When it comes to aging parents and other older relatives, we need to do all we can to keep them safe. Any business owner who is opening up shop and prudently requiring that anyone entering should wear a mask could be confronted with one of these fake card carriers. If you see one, know that it’s fraudulent. If you know a business owner, warn them. Aging parents need everyone to be aware of their safety needs. If they go out of the house at all, you don’t want a thoughtless person to bring the virus into wherever they go. Statistically, the consequences of Covid-19 are decidedly worse for people over 65. And if Grandma doesn’t have a mask, be sure to get one for her. Anyone can be a carrier without symptoms.
Of course the safest place for Grandma (or you, if you’re over 65) is at home. But we do need to get out sometimes and taking basic safety measures is paramount to stopping the spread of the virus. If you see a fake card in a business establishment purporting to permit a person not to wear a mask like everyone else must do, tell the proprietor. There is no such organization as that shown in the photo of one of these fake cards, above. And if you have taken an aging parent out and you encounter this fraud while out, leave. The safety of our aging parents must take priority over any errand.