Jasmine Silva: We all have an obligation to prevent spread of disease here
I am a family medicine physician and the mother of an infant born premature with a resulting weakened immune system.
Further, I am a local. I attended the public schools of Nevada County, worked in the independently owned books stores and movie theaters in Grass Valley and Nevada City, and even in a privately-owned convalescent home in Grass Valley. I have manned various crisis lines in the county and even built a home in Penn Valley with Habitat for Humanity.
So, I feel well qualified to talk about actually caring for my community and neighbors.
I wear a mask every time I am interacting with people outside my household. I do it to protect them even though I am the one with a vulnerable person in my household, because 80% of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can unknowingly spread the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
I do it in the hopes that my neighbors will do the same for me. I do it to protect local business owners and farmers, who frequently have little margin of financial cushion to weather illness and disability. I do it to protect those who don’t have a safe place in which to be ill, such as the homeless or impoverished populations. I do it so that people in convalescent homes can have healthy visitors in their final months of life, or in their lonely demented conditions. I do it for my medical colleagues who are burnt out on the front lines of the pandemic while being simultaneously terrified to bring the virus home to their children and parents.
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Shame on anyone who doesn’t have the interest to protect our neighbors from a potentially lethal and preventable virus, and especially more shame on anyone who has been appointed to serve and protect our community and has chosen to defy that obligation.
Health care recommendations are rarely laws, but that doesn’t mean that following them is ethically or intellectually wrong or even optional. However, anyone who thinks they don’t have an obligation to protect others from willful exposure to an infectious disease should check out California Health and Safety Code 120290.
Wearing a mask may not be specifically written in law, but we all do have a legal and enforceable obligation to prevent spread of disease.
Jasmine Silva lives in Nevada City.
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