LETTERS

Am I my brother's keeper?

Posted 8/5/21

To the Editor: I recently learned I can take a small action that may avert serious harm to those around me. Sounds easy. Still, I don't want to do it. The small action is wearing a mask again. Ugh. It's not that I object because my freedom to shun a mask

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LETTERS

Am I my brother's keeper?

Posted

To the Editor:

I recently learned I can take a small action that may avert serious harm to those around me. Sounds easy. Still, I don’t want to do it.

The small action is wearing a mask again. Ugh.

It’s not that I object because my freedom to shun a mask is more important than the lives of those around me. No, my reason is that I’m sick of wearing a mask. I thought this was behind me!

The trouble is that the new Delta variant is far more contagious than last year’s Covid-19. And symptoms for those infected are more severe. So those who survive being hospitalized are more likely to have serious long-term impacts that, for some, will persist for the rest of their lives.

Yes, I’m fully vaccinated. So my risk for significant symptoms is minimal. Still, even though the vaccine protects my lungs from the Delta variant, recent data shows the viral load in my nose is the same as that of an unvaccinated person.

Also, it’s shocking that the Delta variant’s viral load is 1,000 times greater than the original virus. So without even knowing it, I could easily catch this variant and transmit this serious disease to someone near me.

What to do?

I realize that someone who refuses to be vaccinated is taking their own risk. Maybe I could rationalize that it’s their problem – not mine. But then there’s that pesky question: Am I my brother’s keeper?

Cain killed his brother Abel. When God asked about his brother’s whereabouts, Cain responded that Abel is not his responsibility. Do I want to harm others and deny concern for them as Cain did? Probably not.

Okay, so what sacrifices do I need to make to keep those around me safe?

As I think about it, maybe wearing a mask while grocery shopping is not that big a deal. Oh, and the tenants in my house have kids who can’t get a vaccine. Why not wear a mask when I occasionally see them?

Do I want to wear a mask again while bowling or attending church? No I don’t. But if a member of my bowling league or church goes to the hospital or dies, do I want to wonder if it was my refusal to wear a mask that caused this trauma?

My temporary inconvenience versus causing someone to have a serious illness and possibly dying. Seems like a no-brainer. Yes, the people around me are more important than my desire to live mask-free.

What to do? For now, whenever I’m indoors around others who may be unvaccinated, I’m going to slip on a mask. Is it a sacrifice? Maybe. If so, it’s a small one.

Rev. Harry Rix

Providence

brother, keeper, mask

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