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Bouchat: In debate about healthy people wearing masks, some miss what’s really important | COMMENTARY

There seems to be lots of debate and angst about whether people should wear face masks in public. Therefore, it is important to debate the facts — not emotions, which are dominating the dialogue.

Based on data from the Carroll County Health Department and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, there have been almost twice as many deaths from drug overdoses this year, as of July 1, than the deaths from COVID-19 among Carroll citizens not living in nursing homes. If you are a healthy adult with no pre-existing conditions you are more likely to die of a list of deaths other than COVID-19.

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If you are obese or are a tobacco and/or alcohol consumer, you not only increase your likelihood of contracting COVID-19, but also spreading it and becoming a fatality. Therefore, if you are one of the population attacking healthy people for not wearing a face mask, go look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the following questions:

Am I overweight? Am I a smoker? Am I a user of alcohol? Do I refuse to change my diet, or quit smoking and/or stop consuming alcohol because a doctor gives me pills to keep me alive longer? Is it easier to yell at everyone not wearing a face mask, because I refuse to have self-control of my bad habits, which are slowly killing me?

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These are hard questions to confront, and it takes courage to do so. Any self-abusing coward can use a mask and yell at everyone else that they are jeopardizing their life because of their “selfishness.” It takes courage to reflect on one’s shortcomings and address them with self-discipline. I am a recovered alcoholic and remember getting ill three times in the past four months, before I prayed for the strength to stop drinking alcohol. Who is really the “selfish” one in this debate, upon deeper reflection?

If you live a life abusing yourself, you must accept the consequences of your self-indulgence. Stop attacking healthy people, and start living a better lifestyle. Of Carroll County’s COVID-19 fatalities, 90% are in nursing homes — this paper has reported it — and those are not caused by wearing a mask in Home Depot or a grocery store. Nursing homes have the most stringent face mask policies around, and seniors are dying there in greater numbers than anywhere else in Carroll. Call our health department to verify; it is irrefutable.

You, the unhealthy people, are the spreaders of the virus — not the healthy. Therefore, if you truly believe in your self-righteous crusade to stop the virus from propagating, first start by asking if you have pre-existing conditions. If so, protect society and stop going into stores, even with face masks (remember, nursing homes use them and it fails). Order provisions online and protect us from you. I am sorry if it offends you, but you are the problem — not healthy people who choose to not wear masks. Then make an effort to address your bad habits that cause your pre-existing conditions.

Gov. Larry Hogan, who is overweight, could be a hero by providing personal leadership and example with a major lifestyle change himself.

Most people lack self-control and survive their bad choices thanks to doctors prescribing pills. This virus does not care about your insulin or hypertension pills; it will kill you regardless. Screaming to wear face masks in public, while you indulge in excessive amounts of food, tobacco and/or alcohol, is just a distraction from your personal failures to take responsibilities for your shortcomings.

The courageously healthy need to carry us forward, or this nation will slowly collapse under an educational and fiscal crisis looming large on our horizon. As a public official, I say this with sincere concern.

If it makes you feel good and safe wearing a face mask in public, then do so. It is your right and choice, but remember you can easily contract the virus from your cohabitants and intimates, not just from a grocery store visit. This is America, not China, where this mess started, and your rights stop where everyone else’s begin. It is the bedrock of a free nation, so do not be lured into its surrender.

In closing, the likelihood of a completely effective vaccine or cure for this virus is next to zero, so get used to this being with us, just like the flu. Life goes on, and whether you choose to stop increasing your chances of dying from your poor lifestyle is your choice. You know, just like it is my choice to eat right, work out and not wear a mask. Reflect inward and not outward; it will possibly save your life and has nothing to do with me not wearing a mask. How presumptuous of me to care more about your health more than you do.

Commissioner Eric Bouchat is a Republican representing District 4.

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