Holinger: Make wearing masks inside a daily Halloween treat

An editorial in last week’s Kane County Chronicle (Oct. 7) emphasized, “In Illinois, COVID-19 mitigations are working,” with the “fifth-lowest average in the U.S.” of COVID-19 cases, 22 per 100,000. Our leaders have “followed public health experts’ advice to keep people safe.” In other words, masks work.

Unfortunately, not everybody follows the leader(s), including those who favor patriotic fervor over science. NBC Nightly News (Oct. 2) recorded a mom at a town hall meeting declaring, “Let US choose what is best for our children!” Her well-wishers clapped, apparently all better versed in medical research than Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctors and epidemiologists.

NBC then reported research involving 1,000 K-12 Arizona schools. Half were masked since the start of the school year, the other half masked occasionally or never. Schools partially or never masked were 3.7 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak. Schools merely “strongly encouraged” to mask had 4.7 cases per thousand students and staff; schools requiring masks had 2.15 cases per thousand.

At a late September “health freedom rally” (I couldn’t make that up), Elburn Village President Jeff Walter said, “No thanks” to Gov. JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation plan. “Our folks are going to do what they need to do for themselves and their families” (Kane County Chronicle, Sept. 27).

Umm, OK, but what happens when YOUR folks leave their houses and meet OUR folks inside an enclosed space? Much of the COVID-19 infection is spread by symptom-free carriers.

The best laugh-out-loud speech was delivered by David Foss, owner of – get this – Vital Wellness Center, offering, “hyperbaric oxygen therapy.” Yes, an oxygen doc cajoled the crowd to “Just say no” to mitigation measures. Huh?!

Foss argued, “We say no when we go to the doctor. … We say no to our boss. ... We say no to our teachers. ... You don’t comply.”

Well, actually, most of us DO comply with our bosses, teachers and doctors. Our society functions through transmission of information from professionals trained and educated in their particular fields to help guide us to make ethical, informed decisions.

Putting YOUR “liberty” above everyone else’s doesn’t make you a patriot, doesn’t make you free. It makes you selfish.

• Rick Holinger’s book of poetry, “North of Crivitz,” and his collection of humorous essays about life in the Fox Valley, “Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences,” are available through local bookstores, Amazon, or richardholinger.net. Contact him at editorial@kcchronicle.com