Letter to the Editor

Wear a mask when venturing out

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

On Monday, May 18, my wife, Connie and I went to the Walmart at Spirit Lake. Connie went into the store and I stayed in the van. It was 11:15 a.m. There was only one entrance open (west doors). The entrance is fenced off so one has to navigate that passage to enter the store. While my wife was in the store, I surveyed the people entering to see who wore a mask and who did not. I tabulated the people for one hour. The results of that visual poll is as follows: total customers 296 people; 93 were wearing masks and 203 were not. The ratio was about 2 to 1 not wearing masks.

Connie told me that all Walmart employees were wearing masks and all the shopping carts were sanitized upon being returned to the store. In many of the aisles there were signs affixed to the floor advising customers to stay six feet from each other. Also, shields were installed at each checkout station to separate the clerks from the customers.

I am 94 years old and have seen many changes and been subjected to several epidemics during those years. In World War II, I was stationed in India and China where epidemics were common, and we had to guard against small pox, black plague, typhoid fever and malaria. To protect ourselves from malaria we always slept with mosquito netting around and over the bed. We were also issued mosquito spray cans, but I still contracted malaria. The polio scare in the 1950s was a scary situation, as we had no idea of how and where to avoid acquiring the disease. We also had the “black bird” disease in Mason City that affected many people including our family.

The present virus is probably the worst in my lifetime, and we are all waiting to get a vaccine to stop the spread. We are all in this together. I urge you to wear a mask to protect yourself and others when venturing out.

R. Aubrey La Foy