Last month most of us did not know the term N95 but today most of us do. N95 refers to that class of face mask and respirators that are able to keep out small viral particles and help protect us from the novel coronavirus.
Why should healthcare workers be the only ones with access to N95 masks? Is my old clothing, cut it up, and made into a homemade mask going to protect me? No, it is not. The government says they want us to wear non-medical masks to protect others from us in case we carry the coronavirus infection. That is fine, but I also want to be protected when I go out.
The only reason the general public has not been given access to high-quality masks is the complete failure of our government and the manufacturing sector to make enough high-quality masks for the general public.
When going to the supermarket puts your life at risk, a mask made from an old shirt is not going to protect you. A high-quality N95 mask just might protect you.
Cashiers in supermarkets are now wearing gloves and some even masks. Have you ever seen a cashier change their gloves? No, you have not! They wear the same gloves from customer to customer, risking the spread of the coronavirus from your vegetables to mine, from your chicken to my steak. Whenever I can I go to the self-checkout aside to avoid cashiers with their dirty gloves touching my food.
Our public policy is driven in part by the complete failure of the government, particularly the federal government, to properly manage through this crisis. We have a patchwork of rules, solutions, approaches, led by local jurisdictions and states. The federal government has proved to be completely inept at organizing a coronavirus response. Some states have been better than others.
I commend Governor Hogan in my home state of Maryland for his thoughtful and strong response. I can no longer look at our orange self aggrandizing leader with his blame, meanness and egocentric response to the virus.
I want my own personal supply of real face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves. I want to be protected from the coronavirus just like the front line workers. Where is my N95?