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MARY MEAUX — Come on, all, let’s beat pandemic fatigue

I took a call the other day from a Groves man with an idea for a story born out of concern for his and his wife’s health.

The man, Irven Walker, and his wife are senior citizens and go to Central Mall to walk and exercise.

He was shocked at the amount of people out in public without masks and that some people “don’t seem to know how to wear a mask.”

One of the storefronts he saw had a sign on the front showing the proper way to wear a face mask. Even security at the mall weren’t wearing masks, he said.

“We’re an older couple in our 80s,” Walker said. “To get the virus now would be a death sentence.”

The Walkers have underlying health conditions, he said, and they keep their outings to a minimum; Walmart, church, grocery store.

“We do wear our masks,” he said.

I hated to tell him but needed to be honest. From my experience there are some people who refuse to wear their masks properly as a way to protest the rules.

Mr. Walker paused for a few seconds, as if thinking it over. He hadn’t thought of that.

This man who has lived for eight decades and is now facing a pandemic with the rest of the world seemed to have thought those not wearing their masks properly just needed to be educated on the right positioning of the mask on the face in order to protect others.

I kind of felt like an adult having a discussion with a child about Santa, but hey, that’s not up for discussion.

By no means am I comparing him to a child; I only mentioned this to underline the fact he hadn’t thought of the other side of the coin — that some people are not going to wear a mask the right way and some just aren’t going to wear a mask.

Side note: This conversation is not including those who cannot wear a mask due to health reasons.

The holidays are not going to be the same for the Walkers.

He’s from a large family and is the oldest of eight children. That makes for a family of about 80 people he figured. There will be no Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering for the Walkers.

“We’re not going this year because of the danger,” he said.

Earlier this week Port Arthur Newsmedia reported Jefferson County has seen an alarming spike in the percentage of coronavirus patients hospitalized.

The 14-day average, now 69.6 new cases as of Nov. 17, is more than double the rate on Nov. 1 (34.4) with 178 new cases reported Tuesday. Among those cases, a record 111 were reported by the four-city Port Arthur Health Department, including 54 in Nederland.

I know many of us are in pandemic fatigue — tired of hearing about it and tired of being cooped up. I’m sure part of it is being tired of wearing a mask, as well.

Please, let’s do what we can to help others. Wear the mask.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com