The great mask debate: Is it necessary to wear one in public?

The great mask debate: Is it necessary to wear one in public?
The great mask debate: To wear it in public anymore or not? (Source: Therese Apel)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The coronavirus could be deadly for Celeste Williamson’s son Nathan.

“His type of Muscular Dystrophy affects his pulmonary system, which includes his lungs, so any kind of illness, even the flu would be a big concern for us," said Williamson.

So the Williamsons stay home most of the time. When they go out, it’s a must to have on masks because they don’t want to bring home the coronavirus and infect Nathan. Williamson said they’ll take any defense they can to keep their household free and clear of the disease.

Williamson said she understands that people have different opinions, and that’s why her family stays home as much as possible.

“It’s kind of a preference, because we’ve gotten so many mixed messages on masks and how much benefit they really are,” she said.

Tuesday at the Brookhaven Walmart, people had various reasons for wearing their masks. Henry Rawls pointed out that he has worn a mask since Mississippians were first told to. State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs has reinforced that mandate almost every day since at Governor Tate Reeves’ press conferences.

“That’s the law. The bible said respect the law of the land,” Rawls said.

Titus Howell is a truck driver from Tupelo. He said he believes masks are necessary as an act of respect for others.

“Because it actually is not protecting you from catching anything, it’s protecting you from giving. So you probably should wear it,” he said.

But lots of other shoppers don’t see a need. In Brookhaven on Tuesday, about half of the shoppers had on masks and the other half didn’t. WLBT spoke with a few nurses who were not wearing their masks because they had been wearing them all day at work and needed a break.

Chloe Rutland and Carleigh Bassonette said they feel like the masks aren’t necessary because if you’re going to get coronavirus, there’s not much that will keep you from it.

“People just wear masks for precautions and stuff,” said Rutland. “But if you don’t wear a mask, you can still get sick if you don’t wear a mask. And you’re still touching everything too.”

“Yeah, you’re breathing into the mask, so you still get air from the outside of Walmart,” said Bassonette.

Lincoln County is in the top 15 counties in coronavirus per capita. That leads some to believe if it’s good enough for one, it’s good enough for all. She said it bothers her a little to see people shopping in crowded places without masks on.

“I be like, uh, they need to have their masks on too. If we have our masks on, they need to have theirs on too,” said Brookhaven resident Andrea Smith.

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