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Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

Actually, with COVID-19 you can have both!

Patrick Henry in a speech famously used the phrase, "Give me liberty or give me death!" 

Today it is not uncommon to see people touting their "individual liberties" and opposing the wearing of masks or the forced closure of some businesses due to the coronavirus. Basically what they are saying is, "I want to do what I want to do, damn the rest of you. Call me selfish if you want." 

OK, you're being selfish! Wearing a mask is not for the protection of the mask wearer as much as it is to protect others from said wearer. With the onset of cooler temperatures, people will be moving their parties indoors and flouting any social distancing mandates. 

At this point it has been a couple of weeks since Labor Day. Cases should start to spike, and in another two weeks hospitalizations. Then another two weeks (middle of October?) the death numbers will climb. It is predictable!

It is unlikely that people who are attending political rallies will agree to participate in contact tracing. However, it would be interesting to follow the trajectory of cases of people who did attend, not wearing masks, not social distancing, all the while shouting and yelling. Seems like a perfect mix for future COVID-19 cases. I would note that people attending these events will see signs posted advising them to wear masks. At least the attorneys understand the liability risks.

You can't have your cake and eat it too, but in this case you can have your liberties and also have death, for you or someone else you love. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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