Letters to the Editor

Mandate for masks is needed

By Jeff Fager, Mt. Pleasant

According to the July 27 edition of the Southeast Iowa Union, “the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research center at the University of Washington, predicts between 1,100 and 1,800 Iowans will die from COVID-19 by Nov. 1, with the lower number possible only if Iowans wear masks in public places.”

Our governor has said that she wants Iowans to take personal responsibility for doing the right thing in order to contain the pandemic in our state. Taking personal responsibility is a virtue and ought to be encouraged. However, when dealing with a large population of people, human nature must be taken into account. We know that a certain percentage of that population will not take personal responsibility.

When our leaders know that, they must take responsibility to protect the well-being of the community. People ought to take responsibility for their consumption of alcohol and never get behind the wheel if they are impaired. However, understanding that some people will fail at that, we pass laws in order to protect them and all others on the road.

Failure to protect Iowans from those that endanger our health — and, yes, our very lives — is itself irresponsible. Where Governors are mandating masks in public, progress is being made in curbing this pandemic. Where they are not, conditions will continue to worsen and deaths will rise.