our view

Masks might not be perfect, but wearing them in public is needed.

Medical and cloth masks may not stop everyone from getting COVID-19, but they sure do help.

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a mask order Wednesday. Some say it violates rights, but what about wearing seat belts? It is forced on us by law because data shows it prevents many major injuries and deaths in car accidents. 

Who does a seatbelt affect? Technically, just one person — the one wearing it. 

Masks can help more. According to local medical officials, masks are more useful than many people realize.

“When you are speaking with someone, they spit some while talking or cough,” Russell Medical’s director of education, safety and accreditation Misty Anderson said. “The droplets land on the mask instead of mucus membranes. A mask also prevents you transferring droplets to someone else.”

A mask is not perfect but neither are seatbelts. Seatbelts do not stop every injury or death in a car accident, and a mask will not totally eliminate the existence of COVID-19.

For decades many have worn masks for hours a day in hospitals and operating rooms without affecting oxygen levels. 

Besides, what’s the big deal? Masks aren’t political statements. They’re to be used as protection and prevention devices during a global pandemic. It’s just a mask — slightly uncomfortable, yes, but protective and important — and it could prove to be as effective as a seatbelt.

Plus, if we’d all listened the first time and just wore our masks, maybe it wouldn’t have had to be mandated. But now it’s to the point Ivey had to step in and we need to do the right thing and abide by it. It’s not all about individuals; it’s about protecting others.

Scott Charles may have said it best about why we all should wear a mask.

“I wear a mask because if the experts are correct, I could potentially prevent someone from getting sick and dying,” Charles said on Twitter. “If the experts are wrong, the most I’m out is the inconvenience of wearing a piece of fabric on my face.” 

No matter your beliefs, it’s best to abide by the mandate and help Alabama slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect loved ones and neighbors.