KEYSER - With Governor Justice issuing a mask mandate for the state of West Virginia after a spike of COVID-19 cases throughout the state, opinions over the wearing of masks seem varied.

By Barbara High
bhigh@newstribune.info
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER - With Governor Justice issuing a mask mandate for the state of West Virginia after a spike of COVID-19 cases throughout the state, opinions over the wearing of masks seem varied.
We asked the question: Do you wear a mask? and received many replies.
There are those who don’t feel anyone has the right to tell them to wear a mask, and those who believed that masks should be worn to protect one another.
For those who said they don’t wear a mask unless they are required, the reasons for not wearing one varied. For Lisa Mcintyre, her reason is due to getting sick twice after wearing one for hours. Others agreed with this sentiment, with some saying that they too had trouble with wearing the mask - some due to being unable to breathe well while wearing one.
Some were more concerned about whether masks really work.
For Chris Paitsel, the question is simple, “If masks are mandatory to prevent the spread, then why is there a reason to shut down a business or limit crowd size?”
Chris Beavers says he doesn’t wear a mask unless forced, saying he remains conflicted on them but tries to be objective.
Some who chose not to wear them were concerned over the infringement upon their rights, while others said they simply did not want to.
An overwhelmingly majority of those who replied to the question, however, said they do wear masks. The reasons ranged from public safety to mutual respect for one another.
Anhara Kimble says she wears one because she is ordered to do so and she respects wanting to keep everyone safe.
Tammy Beckwith says she feels it is all about consideration and respect, whether you agree with it or not. “If there is a small chance I can protect my family and others from getting sick, then I swill wear it because it is a small price to pay,” she said.
Pamela Guinn says she wants the pandemic gone and she wears it to protect her family and others. She feels it is respectful to wear them to protect those in retail locations like Walmart.
Mia Leigh says she wears them for the safety of other people in case she possibly had it. She said wearing a mask is of no inconvenience to her, except it was hot.
Paul Lieberton said he wears a mask. “Legally there is a reason to wear a face mask. Morally I think we have an obligation as citizens living in society to do our part to make sure that our actions don't harm others.
“I have not been in an accident in my car in more than 50 years but I still have to carry liability insurance so that if I am in an accident I don’t inflict harm on someone else financially. I don't quite understand how people can say it's a violation of their rights because as many times as I've read the Constitution I haven't found anything about wearing a mask.
“And it falls under the state's authority in terms of controlling epidemics,” he continued.  “During the Spanish flu epidemic whole communities were shut down.”
A lot of people cited their own personal medical conditions as reason for wearing one. Those ranged from COPD, heart issues, cancer, and a compromised immune system.
Destiny Broadwater said, “I do! I have problems with my lungs and I have a hard time breathing in one, but I still wear it. Why? Because I have a heart condition and I get sick very easily.
“I also wear one because I have children at home as well as an immune-compromised brother and father and I could never forgive myself if I were to bring this virus home to my children or other loved ones.”
Candy Rhodes Lantz said, “Since I have had cancer and my husband's triple bypass in January I don't think you can be too careful. We wear a mask out wherever we go. I carry extra in case someone has forgotten or lost theirs also. I also carry hand sanitizer and wipes in my car. You never know what you come in contact with.”
Yarletta Beckwith Santiago says she wears hers because she has an auto immune disease and grandsons.
Terry Shipe said, “I have worn one, and properly I must add, which means covering the nose, since the public was encouraged to do so. Myself being at prime age and my girl having COPD, I am trying everything possible to avoid getting the virus.
“I believe living in the US and having rights also means being responsible towards others,” he said. “I put it on before exiting and remove it after getting back in the car after using Germ-X.”
Many who responded were concerned with protecting family members and others. Margie Reel said, “I have a large family and I am an EMT. I wear a mask when in crowds or stores and on the ambulance (sometimes we have to wear multiple masks on the ambulance). My family is everything to me and I would never want to compromise their health.”
Brenda Puritan Mitchell said she wears a mask “because I’m worried about getting the virus and spreading it to the people I love. I wear it when I go to any public place.”
For Michael Swartz, the idea of those not wearing masks is upsetting. “I wear mine in any public store or around large crowds where I cant get social distance. I have a compromised immune system from cancer and it really makes me sad that others don’t wear them makes me feel like they have no respect. Last time in grocery store about 75% were wearing them.”
Kathy Watts said she wears one to protect others and herself. “Masks do work both ways, and are more effective if everyone is wearing one. Also they need to wear them correctly and have good hand hygiene.
“I’m proof of this because I'm a nurse and only had a surgical mask on when exposed to a patient for days without knowing it. I was less than six feet from my patient for 45 minutes nonstop when he was coughing; more like less than one foot away and I never got it. I tested negative twice. “Medical personnel have been wearing masks for years for protection against air borne infections. Over 20 years and I have never got any airborne infections from my patients. Education is essential.
“Do I like wearing a mask ? Of course not, they are hot, you sweat and my glasses steam up. But I do because it’s the right thing to do. It's the responsible thing to do.”
Mike Staggers says he wears his mask for several reasons. “I am a parent of two very young kids and desperately want them to be able to be safe.
I care about other people and understand my mask protects them from me, not the other way around.
“I am a teacher and a football coach, and would like to return to the classroom and field safely, and until we have a vaccine, the masks and other precautions are the only way to make that happen.
“Every nation that advocated for mask usage early on has case numbers that are far more manageable and under control than the United States,” Staggers said. “The U.S. should never be left behind in a situation like this.
“Health experts like Dr. Fauci advocate for mask usage now, and I am going to listen to the experts, not people with no experience in medicine and infectious diseases/viruses. I definitely won’t listen to local conspiracy theorists or fools who aren’t listening to the national experts.”
Masks are currently mandated to be worn while out and many stores are requiring them to enter or to shop. As the debate continues and as the pandemic continues to run rampant in our country, the one thing everyone agrees on is simply… we want this pandemic gone.
In Taylor Stewart’s words: She is wearing her mask because she wants her senior year next year.