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Opinion | Can you handle the truth?

Make no mistake: A decent percentage of young people are getting the virus now.


What’s the big deal with wearing a mask? I’ve worn one every day since the spring of 2020.

But now, more and more, I go to stores or other places, and lots of people just aren’t wearing a mask. I would never confront anybody for not wearing a mask. What’s the use? Yet, it’s selfish for somebody who doesn’t care much about their own health not to care about mine or my wife’s and other responsible people.

I was in Publix this week, and more people were without masks than with them. The Publix employees were masked, but not most of the customers. Not literally, but in my mind, I sadly shake my head. A mask isn’t a huge burden, especially if it’ll keep you safer from a contagious disease.

Now with the delta variant of the Coronavirus running rampant, it just doesn’t make sense not to wear a mask.

No, a mask isn’t a 100 percent barrier. But it is a barrier. Each year, I get an early winter cold. This past winter, no cold. The flu was hardly evident, though we vaccinated ourselves from that as well. But the difference was the mask.

The whackadoodle who is governor of the state just below us has signed an executive order banning Florida’s school systems from mandating masking. That is crazy. First, such decisions should be made by local school districts. Kids younger than 12 years old can’t take the vaccine, meaning they are especially at risk for the rampaging delta variant.

Why a parent would not want their child to wear a mask in a classroom of 30 other sneezy, snotty children is baffling to me. But polls in Florida show that about 50 percent of adults want schools to mandate mask wearing, while 50 percent don’t.

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Something is wrong with us.

As I wrote earlier in this column, masks aren’t 100 percent preventatives. But they are way up there. And certainly, an unmasked somebody in a room with 30 other somebodies not wearing a mask is much more at risk coming down with Covid than somebody who is masked.

The Coronavirus vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective. But neither are the measles vaccine or the polio vaccine. That doesn’t keep schools from mandating that children that attend their schools be vaccinated against the measles.

Thank goodness, I work for a university that mandates mask-wearing indoors. UAB requires that all students and employees wear masks during class or walking the hallways. If a student refuses to wear a mask, I can ask him to leave the classroom. If he refuses, I can dismiss the class. And, of course, turn the student into student conduct.

But you know, over the past two full semesters during the pandemic, not one student has refused to mask in the classroom. Not one. Maybe that’s because UAB is a research university, and the students understand the value of science and facts. They know that masks help keep them safe.

Make no mistake: A decent percentage of young people are getting the virus now. This week at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, perhaps as many as five of them were in the hospital’s ICU. Dozens more are in hospitals around the state.

In South Alabama, hospitals are so slammed that ICUs are either at or over capacity. Because of a virus. A virus for which we have a vaccine. A virus that can be deterred simply by wearing a mask.

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And yet, many refuse. Maybe they have a death wish. Maybe they don’t believe in science or the facts. Or maybe, theirelevator is stuck on the ground floor.

Don’t listen to the politicians, Democrat or Republican or otherwise. Don’t depend on social media to give you the truth. Or even some in the media. But you can do just a little of your own research and learn the truth.

But maybe you can’t handle the truth.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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