Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Wear a Mask, Slow the Spread

Wear a Mask, Slow the Spread

What clothes were you wearing on January 30th?  Unless you wear a uniform to work, you are thinking how could I possibly remember such a thing?  I’m really just trying to get you to think back to that day—it happened to be a Thursday. That is the day when the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a public health emergency.  Seems like a long time ago, I know. On that day, there were 9,439 worldwide cases and only six reported cases in the United States. Texas would not have its first case until weeks later.

As I write this, approximately 163,000 people have died, and in recent days, that means roughly a thousand individuals have died a day. How did we get here from that Thursday in January to what we are dealing with now in August? We have more than five million reported cases in the United States. More than a third of all U.S. cases occurred during July alone! We are now experiencing around 50,000 new cases per day. Yesterday (August 9th) we had more than 61,000 new cases reported. Lubbock has roughly 300,000 people.  Ideally, we should drive down our case rate to less than one per 100,000 people per day. Wouldn’t you love to turn the TV on see your favorite reporter saying we added just three new cases today?  Then, Dr. Ron Cook would come on tell us what a great job we are doing. 

We can get to this rate by wearing our masks, practicing social distancing, and washing our hands.  We have to avoid crowds.  Believe me, I get that this is hard.  This grandpa has five grandchildren and my sweet wife and I have not seen them since Christmas.  We have to get by with ZOOM meetings and FaceTime.

I recently read of a group of people in San Francisco who assembled after an advertising campaign which listed “ANTI-MASK MEETING TONIGHT.” Thousands of indignant citizens showed up saying that their constitutional rights and liberty were at stake.  Some in the media praised their actions. Shortly after the protest there were some 45,000 new respiratory cases.  The date of the meeting was January 25, 1919. One-hundred and one years ago—almost to the day of January 30th.  It was the Spanish Flu that time—but, the consequences were people died that might have been spared. Human nature does not change as much as we sometimes think.  Please, wear your mask and be safe.