Because of science, President Richard Nixon signed into law on April 1, 1970, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, banning cigarette ads from airing on television and radio. On July 1, 2004, the Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect, banning smoking in all enclosed public places except in designated areas. On December 2016, e-cigarettes were added. In late 2019, many broadcasting companies pulled e-cigarette ads amidst new health concerns. Because of science we now know the devastation tobacco wreaks and the lives it destroys. Not only for individual smokers but those exposed to their second hand chemicals and toxins.
Because of science we now know that seat belts save countless lives. We all have a higher chance of surviving an accident when they are worn. Science proved this fact in 1966 when Congress passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act requiring all automobiles to comply with certain safety standards. The simple act of forcing people to strap in changed the death rate significantly. An abuse of power? Seen as overstepping civil rights, it ignited widespread criticism of government regulation in a free society. But here we are today. Cars forced to include them and occupants legally required to wear them.
Because of science, laws were finally passed to prevent people from drinking while driving, understanding that even low levels can impact our reflexes and mental acuity. These protections were also attacked. One in particular went to the Supreme Court where it was argued that random checkpoint stops infringed fourth amendment rights. On June 14, 1990, the court held that Michigan had a “substantial government interest to advance in stopping drunk driving, and that this technique was rationally related to achieving that goal, and the element of surprise is crucial to the method’s success.” In addition, the court ruled that the “impact to drivers, such as being asked brief questions to gain reasonable suspicion or getting to their destination later, was negligible.” Public safety outweighed the inconvenience and intrusion.
Because of science we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that masks save lives. We know that in the middle of a pandemic with a highly contagious infection, covering our nose and mouth at all times when in the vicinity of others saves lives. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation director Dr. Christopher Murray, “Wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50%, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.” The institute estimated 33,0000 lives could have been saved by October 1, 2020 if 95% of the population had worn masks in pubic.
The tsunami is here.
It will be catastrophic and destroy far and wide. Not just families and businesses, but hospitals and providers already overwhelmed and understaffed at a time when they are needed most. Healthcare providers are on the forefront of the wave, with those hospital settings drowning. And then we see non-compliant, angry people who claim it’s their civil right to defy mask mandates. Not in my office.
This is a matter of life and death.
If we continue to ignore this horrifying disaster, 6 million will die.
Yes, a vaccine may be forthcoming, but it will take coordination on a scale never before seen, to get it packaged, properly stored, and disseminated to every arm in this country.
Sadly, that is still months away while the water is swirling up to our knees.
Until then, please: Wear. A. Mask.