Good Saturday, everyone! I think we can all agree that this coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. Last week we had the largest amount of new cases, in a week’s time, to date.

I don’t think any of us like wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from each other either. We need to have people around us; we like to feel the touch from others. We need hugs, handshakes, and pats on the back; it is good for the soul, heart, and the mind.

Do you remember what it was like when it was first recommended for us to wear seat belts? Before it became a law, that is? I, for one, hated to wear it; it was just so uncomfortable, and I was young and defiant. Those recommendations were in the mid to late 1980s.

Later in my life, in the early part of the 1990s, my two stepsons would always say, “Sherri, you forgot to buckle your seat belt,” as we would begin pulling out of the driveway. And, so I would buckle up for them and then it became a habit. I was in that “do what I say, not as I do” frame of mind. So, I have them to thank for getting me in that habit before it became a law in Illinois.

Statistics say that in 1984, 65% of Americans opposed seat belt laws. See if this sounds familiar. A number of groups and individuals opposed to seat belt legislation had two main common grounds. One, the view that laws requiring the wearing of seat belts are an infringement of individuals’ liberty. Two, the claims that official estimates of the number of lives saved by seat belts are overstated.

So many times, recently, I have heard the same reasoning for not wearing face masks. The belief that the number of cases reported are inflated and that requiring face masks violates your constitutional rights.

Accepting the use of seat belts took public service campaigns, legal enforcement, and even regular reminders from our own cars, which continues even today. We are a very hard society to change. The wearing of seat belts has been shown time and time again that it saves lives.

It will take more time, maybe legal enforcement, but mandating the use of face masks in public could be coming. If it keeps you healthy and your elderly parents healthy and alive, it might be that uncomfortable inconvenience that we soon will have to accept.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 425 N. Gilbert St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone, 442-3512

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