Protect human rights, wear a mask

Decades ago, I was a passenger in a car that was struck broadside by another vehicle. The impact hurled me through the windshield. Although I was not seriously hurt, for several weeks afterward every time I brushed my hair, bits of glass that had embedded themselves in my scalp would be dislodged.

I hurtled through the windshield because I was not wearing a seat belt. Our car was broadsided because the driver ignored a yield sign and sped into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It was all our fault. We broke the law and suffered the consequences.

News reports of traffic accidents generally cite violations of some law — speeding, intoxication, crossing center lines, etc., as the cause. Only rarely do they attribute the event to vehicle failure.

Responsible citizens obey traffic-safety laws because they recognize that these laws are designed to protect everyone on the road. Do they infringe on our “freedom” to drive too fast, to drive while inebriated, to ignore stop signs, etc.? Of course they do.

Similarly, responsible citizens do not trespass, dump litter, steal or otherwise break the law because they know that the laws are designed to protect them from those who would trespass, litter or steal on their property. Arguably, these laws also infringe on the “freedom” of others to go anywhere they wish, to dump trash in their neighbors’ yards, or to help themselves to others’ property.

What, then, is the big fuss about wearing masks? I do not wear one because I enjoy having a new fashion accessory or because I am a coward. I do it because I respect the mandate designed to protect myself and others.

Ms. Eisenbach (Forum, Sept. 16) and others might just ponder the possibility that Kaua‘i’s low rate of COVID-19 infections results from the willingness of its citizens to obey the protocols enacted by our mayor and health officials for the purpose of protecting us all. As Mayor Kawakami has said, this is about aloha. Expressing aloha can infringe on the “freedom” to ignore others’ feelings or even their human rights, but it does give us the freedom to live together in reasonable harmony.


Heu‘ionalani Wyeth is resident of Anahola.

  1. Andy Degeus September 28, 2020 7:37 am Reply

    If you are sick you should wear a mask or stay home! If you are healthy you should not be forced to wear a mask or to stay home! Freedom is freedom and it should be your choice. Also the two weeks to slow the spread passed months ago so the the stay at home orders are now unconstitutional since there is NO emergency. Our hospitals are not over run and we have plenty of therapies to treat the virus now. Sweden never locked down and are looking like the smartest in the world!

    1. david presley September 28, 2020 3:25 pm Reply

      And the 200,000 dead Americans? By your logic freedom means you can shoot someone. The mask is there to prevent YOUR virus from spreading and killing someone. NOT to protect you. FYI, Sweden isn’t doing any better than the United States.

      1. Aloha Dave September 29, 2020 4:09 am Reply

        Remember the CDC has clarified that 94% of those who dies originally alleged to be killed by the virus, has now been debunked and the 188,000 rests squarely on those people so pre-existing chronic degenerative end of life diseases further complicate by their toxic, even lethal, multiple prescription drugs.

        Only 12,000 have died in the US directly from this seasonal flu.

        this is maybe why your Scandinavian figures may be off or so lopsided, as it may be due to the way the deaths were reported, inaccurately as virus caused.

        1. Citation needed September 30, 2020 6:25 am Reply

          You say that happened, but it is extraordinary and can’t be believed unless you provide the CDC link that says this. I can’t find anything like that on their site.

    2. Kurt Last September 28, 2020 5:06 pm Reply

      Sweden has suffered 567 deaths per million people compared with Denmark’s 106 deaths per million, Finland’s 59 deaths per million, and Norway’s 47 deaths per million.

      And you think Sweden is the smartest in the world? Got it!

      1. Jay September 29, 2020 1:56 am Reply

        And hundreds of people lose their lives on Kauai due to rip currents, flash floods, car accidents, cliff falls, and helicopter crashes.. far higher death rate than covid in Sweden.. all avoidable btw if we remain permanently locked down, shut all beaches, trails, and ban automobiles forever …

        1. Bird September 30, 2020 6:27 am Reply

          And none of those activities are endangering the rest of the general public if you opt to partake in them and risk your own life. (except driving, which is heavily regulated already because of those risks)

          Wear a mask.

  2. Kama'aina September 28, 2020 8:03 am Reply

    The big fuss is that mask don’t do what you have been told they do. The CDC and medical field have known and taught that cloth mask are useless to any type of virus. Go look up any reputable medical journal for a study that says wearing a cloth mask is safe and recommend as defense from any airborne virus. We should all be focused on building up our immune systems so our body’s can fight off COVID-19 and any other illness we are in contact with. Don’t have faith in a lie thinking it is the decent kind thing to do when the research shows that it may be more likely to cause harm by lowering your blood oxygen levels and harboring the germs you are trying to stay away from. If you want to rely on a mask as a safety measure make sure it’s a proper respirator with a filter.

  3. Ford September 28, 2020 1:08 pm Reply

    If we have to protect others should we just wait for elon musk and get cyborg and stay in our homes while our avatar goes out into the real GOD’S world….can’t wait for Day of Judgment when the ignorant follow the evil ones into Hell.

  4. LTEreader September 29, 2020 12:15 am Reply

    Kama’aina –

    Are you suggesting that you know more than the CDC, MIT Medical, and the Mayo Clinic?

    CDC. Updated Aug. 7, 2020:
    “Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain. CDC’s recommendations for masks will be updated as new scientific evidence becomes available.”

    MIT Medical. July 7, 2020:
    “Evidence for the efficacy of masks comes both from laboratory studies and real-world scenarios. For example, one recent laboratory experiment used a laser-light-scattering methodology to visualize respiratory droplets generated while subjects repeated the phrase “stay healthy.” While each utterance generated hundreds of droplets ranging in size from 20 to 500 micrometers, the researchers showed that covering the speaker’s mouth with a damp washcloth blocked nearly all of them.
    The evidence from epidemiologic data and case studies may be even more compelling. A recent study, for example, used publicly available data to calculate the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia between the end of March and late May of 2020. Researchers found that mask mandates led to a marked slowdown in the daily growth rate, estimating that mask mandates may have prevented up to 450,000 cases of COVID-19.”

    MAYO Clinic. August 20, 2020:
    “A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus when they are widely used by people in public settings. And countries that required face masks, testing, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic have successfully slowed the spread of the virus.”

    As for “lowering your blood oxygen levels”
    “Surgical masks, which are disposable, and other types of cloth face masks are looser fitting, making it highly unlikely that wearers would see significant depletions in their oxygen intake. Non-N95 masks also are porous, allowing air to flow in and out and permitting normal respiratory functions, while limiting the release of respiratory droplets.”

    One last thing, the only good “respirator” mask is an N95, which are custom fitted for hospital workers, and in short supply. The masks with valves available to the public are epic fails. FACT CHECK if you want any credibility!

    Mic drop.

  5. Chris Faye September 29, 2020 3:26 pm Reply

    Thank you Heu‘ionalani for your aloha!

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