It seems like just yesterday we were calling it the novel coronavirus, not only because it was new but because it was mysterious. We did not know where it came from, how it spread, what course it would take or how many people would be stricken, and die. Now, as it continues to spread across the globe, with openings and closings and reclosings, to be followed by reopenings, it does not feel so new anymore but it remains almost as much a mystery.
People have had a chance to develop some strong and unfortunate feelings about the advisability of staying at home, social distancing and wearing masks. We hear frequently that the virus is overrated or a hoax altogether, that preventive measures are an infringement on notional rights, and that the virus is a very real killer – in light of which we owe our lives and obedience to local authorities; and anyone who does not scrupulously follow their dicta is selfish and ought to be arrested or denied medical treatment.
You can see how overstated this has become. It is not just here. The president is holding campaign rallies where masking seems to be discouraged. There are people who want masks banned and there are those who insist we should be more autocratic, like China, of all places.
Our strong preference is for locally elected officials to make public health decisions in concert with the best advice from public health authorities and others. We believe that is just what Durango City Council has done, especially when it extended its mandatory face-covering order last week.
Having to wear a mask at some times in some places is a slight inconvenience, an imposition, but it has little to do with liberty or the camel’s nose under your tent.
We do not support the mask rule because we are blindly obedient but because it is and ought to be common sense.