Honor health care workers by wearing a mask, staying at home

Published 10:44 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

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To the Editor:
In the past several months, I have heard many heartbreaking comments that are callous and minimize the suffering in our community due to COVID-19. This must stop — lives are at stake. We have the opportunity to take this epidemic seriously and value all life. We must choose to love our neighbors. 
I have heard, “This is a mask free area and we are not scared.” Wearing a mask is an act of love and respect. When I am masked, my faith is not weak. This act says that I value science and love my neighbors. I am thankful for leaders who support best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19. 
I have heard, “This will all be over after the election and I don’t know of anyone who has died.” To the people in my sphere who have prayed alongside me for the over 314,000 Americans lost to this epidemic, including the nearly 16,000 who died in the two weeks past the election, I am deeply humbled by your empathy. It should not take knowing someone personally who has died from COVID-19 to care and follow the guidelines.  
I have heard, “We just need to accept that people get sick and it’s mostly old people dying who were going to die anyway.” To those who listen to experts, rely on science, wear a mask, social distance, and have stopped gathering, I am appreciative for your understanding that COVID-19 is preventable.   
This holiday season, we CAN change our behavior to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We can honor our front-line workers from the first responders, to the store clerks, and especially to the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line each day by staying apart, staying masked, and staying home — to show our love for our neighbors.  
Dr. Sherry Cockerham 

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