• 63°

JOSEPH LOPEZ — My Latino brothers, it’s time to man up and mask up

Gentlemen, by now we know the facts.

  • COVID-19 is being diagnosed in Hispanic patients at a disproportionately higher rate.
  • Hispanics often lack health insurance and experience difficulties getting proper care.
  • Many of us are at greater risk for COVID-19 because we are essential workers or are not in a career allowing us to work safely from home.
  • We often live with multiple family members and care for them, too.

So why is it that I am constantly witnessing Latino men overwhelmingly seeming to care the least about properly wearing a mask in public?

People-watching in public is a lost art during this pandemic, but perhaps you’ve noticed this.

To the tradesman at the sandwich shop who had his nose uncovered while standing next to fellow customers, to the chiropractic client who only put a mask on once he walked into the waiting room, to my home maintenance team ready to enter my home without any facial coverings, to my friends in the construction industry who assure me they’ll be fine without a mask — to all of you, I ask why?

We know from the nation’s leading medical experts that a COVID-19 carrier without a proper mask can put a healthy person wearing a mask at a moderate risk of catching this deadly virus.

While I appreciate the fact that I have not (yet) seen any Latino male “Karens” in viral videos refusing to put on a mask in public, we’ve got to take some corrective action here.

This is an anecdotal observation, and there is no precise data to show which gender, age group, or race may fit into an “anti-masker” category more than others.

However, it is too concerning to ignore a weekend’s worth of errands and conversations, during which I found only Latino adult males either refusing to wear a mask or wearing one incorrectly.

You say the mask isn’t macho? You say the mask is uncomfortable? Maybe. But would you rather a few minutes of discomfort or the pain and potentially life-altering effects of this disease (and that’s if it doesn’t prove fatal)?

But perhaps it is the societal discomfort that is most difficult for some of us to grasp.

Whether you like it or not, every single one of us now holds an incredible amount of responsibility in public to care not just for ourselves — but to care for others.

You may not blink in the face of this virus, but are you willing to risk the lives of your neighbors?

Your kids? Your parents? You may be healthy, but not everyone around you is as fortunate.

And wearing a mask in public is also currently the law.

So, shouting this for those in the back of the room, the CDC recommends a proper face mask snugly covers your nose and mouth, and wraps around your chin.

Wearing a mask is not a symbol of weakness nor does it display any lack of masculinity.

Properly wearing a mask shows consideration and respect for your fellow man.

It’s basic manners. It’s human decency. It’s something our parents and abuelas taught us growing up.

I have seen too many of my friends and acquaintances get seriously ill from this virus. Your gesture of properly wearing a face covering in public can help slow the spread of coronavirus.

These strenuous times will be made easier if we are in this fight together.

Please do your part and please share this common-sense advice with a friend who needs it.

 

Joseph Lopez lives in Nederland and is a student at Lamar State College Port Arthur.