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Wearing a mask is important

To the editor:

I’ve always believed we have hard-working, smart people here in Jefferson County. But I’m also starting to have doubts and concerns about our people when I see so many misguided reactions to the coronavirus pandemic. The misinformation, the conspiracy theories and the fear remind me of all the lies spread in the early days of the AIDS crisis back in the 1980s and 1990s. Remember when people called it the “gay plague,” and some believed the HIV virus was created by a government lab? Misinformation is dangerous.

Way too many people still believe COVID-19 is a hoax. They put their faith in fake news instead of medical professionals, over and over. I think part of the reason is the overload of news and information we get every day. The fake news sources use tricks to make them sound legitimate, like putting up an emotional looking picture to go with their story on social media.

When a story or picture brings out emotions and feelings, you want to believe it’s true. Then they throw in a few facts and figures, surrounded by inflammatory language and that pulls you in even more. Then there’s the personal stories, like someone who claims they saw a nurse falsifying COVID-19 tests to make them all positive. Do you check all that out before you share it? The fake news sources want you to share it because the more it’s seen, the more people are likely to believe the fake stuff.

So here’s what I will share with you. It’s verified information from doctors, nurses and scientists everywhere: Wear a mask in public. The point is to keep you from coughing or sneezing or breathing your body fluids out. Your mask protects others. Their masks protect you. It’s about taking care of each other. This virus doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. It doesn’t care if we have a good economy or a bad economy. It doesn’t care if Jefferson County has five active cases or 500.

Please try to understand that before we have more sickness and more death. The next casualty could be you or someone you love.

Jeanette Panebianco

Mingo Junction

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