The bridge from our fear of an out-of-control pandemic to virus containment is universal masking in public (and continuing social distancing, of course).

We need a bridge between the current fear and an eventual vaccine.

Hindsight is always 20-20.

It is probably true that we did not really have to shut down the entire economy and stay home in the spring. But we had to take some action immediately and that seemed like the pause we needed – at the time. At the time, we thought that masks would protect the wearer.

By late June, we knew how masks worked, but Americans were still resistant to using them.

A current study from the University of Washington (a state that was the first epicenter of the pandemic, but has since avoided a resurgence) shows that even today, if everyone in the USA wore masks religiously, COVID-19 could be stopped in its tracks by the fall.

Imagine if we hit 100% in Calaveras County – and created a model that did NOT require another shutdown. Think of how easy 100% masking would be, compared to shutting everything down again.

As you now know, wearing a mask does not protect the wearer; it protects everyone else from the wearer (in case the wearer is infected but does not know it; as many as 40% of Americans may be asymptomatic).

If you just got negative test results but then were exposed to and acquired the virus, or if you are an asymptomatic carrier – as many are – wearing a mask keeps your “droplet nuclei” inside your mask (and when you wash it, handle it only by the ear strings).

Yet the CDC is still somewhat “reserved” in recommending face masks for all. And the president is still opposed (for some insane reason) to universal masking.

This is a subtly insidious disease, but we are learning where it is weak.

If we all wear masks when in groups outside our homes, we can defeat COVID-19, perhaps in a month or two. Two months of wearing masks to avoid a second shutdown seems like a no-brainer, right?

I hate wearing a mask. Only Freddie Kreuger and Orville Peck actually like wearing a mask. Won’t you join me in doing what we all hate?

In war, we all hate killing our fellow human beings. But we do what we must – and right now, we must all wear masks in public. Because we are in a war against the coronavirus.

And I want you in the foxhole with me. Wearing a mask.

Brock Estes,

Valley Springs


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