Op-Ed: Masks Can Help Us All Regain More Freedom

Few things bother Americans more than infringing on their freedom.

Freedom is the God-given right to Americans. Go spend a day at the beach, go shopping, go to the movie theater, go to work, or go visit one’s family.

But all these have changed with the latest Covid-19 pandemic.

First, people are told that they have to stay at home or “shelter in place.” Then they are told that they have to wear masks. Shelter-in-place means you are not allowed to leave the house and do those things that you are supposed to be free to do. This restriction absolutely infringes upon your freedom of movement and freedom of assembly.

Masking is even more personal—you have to wear this cloth or filter material that covers half your face. It’s definitely uncomfortable. This makes it much harder to breathe, especially in hot weather, when walking or exercising.

Some argue that you would breath in the bad carbon dioxide that you exhale, which is unhealthy. If you wear glasses, it fogs up the lens in seconds.

In addition, masks are getting expensive, as the prices have risen, and most stores have a hard time stocking enough of them. And on top of that, how could a democratic government tell Americans what to wear?

What kind of country has this become?

President Trump has called Covid many names—it’s from China, it’s just a flu, it’s a hoax from liberals or Democrats to help Biden.

For months, Trump has steadfastly refused to wear a mask. So why did he finally put on a mask himself when visiting the Walter Reed Hospital?

The truth of the matter is that the Covid virus is very different and extremely contagious. It can be transmitted by people carrying the virus without any symptom. It is airborne, meaning that it can transmit invisibly in midair.

We’ve all heard of washing our hands for 30 seconds or maintaining 6 feet of social distancing. But it turns out the most important thing anyone can do to stop the transmission of this dangerous and often deadly virus is when everyone wears a mask.

In places such as Hong Kong, where the population density is very high with 7.5 million people living in skyscrapers similar to Manhattan, most people use public transportation daily, and social distancing basically is difficult. Many people probably do wash their hands, but certainly not everyone. And yet, since February, there are only six confirmed deaths linked to Covid in Hong Kong. That literally is less than one in a million.

Compare that to the latest hot spots far less dense or populous in America. Hot Springs, Arkansas’s rate is over 21,500 deaths per million.

Meanwhile many small Texas towns—Scurry, Crockett, Anderson and Val Verde, to name just a few—have an equivalent rate of over 15,000 deaths per million.

How is that possible?

The answer is not simply social distancing. The biggest difference is that 99 percent of Hong Kong residents wear masks. They wear masks outdoor, while riding buses and subway trains, and they wear masks indoor, at malls, and at work.

Besides wearing masks, life is actually quite normal in Hong Kong throughout this time without the government’s ordering shelter-in-place.

Goldman Sachs released a study showing that mandatory mask-wearing can save the U.S. GDP by 5 percent. That’s because if everyone wears a mask, less shelter-in-place restrictions would be necessary and the American economy could be safely reopened.

Another fascinating story that underscored a similar point emerged at a Missouri hair salon. At the salon, two stylists unwittingly carried the Covid-19 virus—yet neither their co-workers nor their 139 clients were infected simply because everyone was wearing masks despite their close proximity.

Based on what we have learned in the last few months, not wearing masks is not about freedom. Rather, it’s really inconsiderate, reckless and deadly.

Wearing mask is the fastest way we can reopen our economy to bring our freedoms back.

While various politicians are still dithering on whether or not to mandate mask wearing, it’s time to put factually based statistics and science above politics.

In the end, it’s quite simple: to regain our freedom, we all need to wear masks.

Otto Lee is a patent attorney and former mayor of Sunnyvale running against Assemblyman Kansen Chu for the Santa Clara County District 3 supervisor seat. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

16 Comments

  1. > Another fascinating story that underscored a similar point emerged at a Missouri hair salon. At the salon, two stylists unwittingly carried the Covid-19 virus—yet neither their co-workers nor their 139 clients were infected simply because everyone was wearing masks despite their close proximity.

    Then why are the public health authoritarians keeping their jackboots on the necks of barbershop and salon operators?

  2. Otto Lee – ha.

    Power-hungry opportunist aspiring politician trying to cancel his opponent.

    All this fluff articles don’t cover what you are – a snowflake authoritarian smear campaigner.

    Beat Chu, don’t smear him, or you are worse than him.

    And he is the worst.

  3. > President Trump has called Covid many names—

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    it’s from China,

    TRUE
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    it’s just a flu,

    TRUE
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    it’s a hoax from liberals or Democrats to help Biden.

    TRUE
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  4. > Goldman Sachs released a study showing that mandatory mask-wearing can save the U.S. GDP by 5 percent.

    Ending lockdowns would increase U.S. GDP by 34.8 percent.

    That’s what the U.S. economy LOST in the second quarter.

  5. > Wearing mask is the fastest way we can reopen our economy to bring our freedoms back.

    Wearing masks is SURRENDERING freedom.

    The fastest way we can reopen the economy to bring our freedoms bask is to END THE LOCKDOWNS.

  6. LET ME EXPLAIN . . .

    I should know better .

    Very many of San Jose Inside’s readers will miss the point. I realize that.

    My point is: Otto Lee is guilty of the crime of BINARY THINKING.

    Binary thinking is the accepted criminality of the modern era of “wokeness”. Things are either GOOD or BAD, and if you don’t swallow EVERY claim of wokeness, you have sided with BAD,

    I really don’t think that wearing a mask is a BAD thing. it is, in many ways, a GOOD thing. It would probably be a good thing if lots and lots of people wore masks.

    What is a BAD thing is compelling, coercing, and forcing people to wear masks under penalty of shaming, exclusion, penalties, or fines.

    Most people will VOLUNTARILY and WILLINGLY wear masks if it is reasonably requested, explained, and justified. And if MOST people wear masks, THAT IS GOOD ENOUGH for “flattening the curve” and diminishing the coronavirus epidemic to nuisance levels.

    ENDING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC is an IMPOSSIBLE goal. It cannot be achieved and it will not be achieved. It is the nature of viruses.

    Otto Lee is not just arguing for ending the coronavirus pandemic. He is arguing that SOMEONE should have the AUTHORITY and POWER to coerce people to do dubious or problematic things to achieve impossible goals.

    Otto Lee should not be entrusted with any role in our governance.

  7. A handful of feel good analogies there but ZERO EVIDENCE that masks do anything to prevent the spread of Covid. On the flip side there is ample evidence that the improper use of masks (not to mention non N95 cloth face coverings) actually increase the spread of the disease due to touching the face and re-use of the mask, but whatever.

    But hey, it’s sounds nice anyway. If only it were true. Of course we know it’s not true because if wearing a mask is all it took Gavin Newsom would have already opened California. But he hasn’t, because it’s not true. Or maybe cause he hates us, but whatever.

  8. — “The truth of the matter is that the Covid virus is very different and extremely contagious. It can be transmitted by people carrying the virus without any symptom. It is airborne, meaning that it can transmit invisibly in midair.”

    “The truth is” that obtaining definitive evidence that Covid is an airborne contagion (as opposed to spreading via respiratory droplets) is so difficult it has yet to be proved. Nevertheless, the facts on the ground, especially in this county, suggest it poses little danger to healthy people who practice common flu-prevention hygiene (and steer clear of anyone with a cough).

    — “Compare that to the latest hot spots far less dense or populous in America. Hot Springs, Arkansas’s rate is over 21,500 deaths per million.”

    Garland County, which contains Hot Springs, has had 7 deaths for a rate of less than 1 per million.

    — “Meanwhile many small Texas towns—Scurry, Crockett, Anderson and Val Verde, to name just a few—have an equivalent rate of over 15,000 deaths per million.”

    Scurry, Texas has recorded no deaths, and Kaufman County, in which it is located, has a Covid death rate of 0.25 per million. The city of Crockett, population 6,900, has recorded 2 deaths (which could be translated mathematically — but misleadingly — as 288 deaths per million).
    I won’t waste any more time checking this clown’s facts.

    — “… two stylists unwittingly carried the Covid-19 virus—yet neither their co-workers nor their 139 clients were infected simply because everyone was wearing masks despite their close proximity.”

    It may well be the stylists’ masks hindered or prevented the respiratory (or airborne?) transmission of the virus, but it is unlikely the masks worn by the clients were of a type (or worn in such a way) that would have had much if any effect. The preventative feature of a mask works much the same as does the civilized practice of covering one’s mouth when coughing — it offers some protection to others from the contagions of the infected.

  9. How much do these Op-Eds pay SJI to post this drivel?

    I’m curious. What is the going rate for someone running for office to get his agenda published in your fine magazine?

  10. We learned something new today, class: The ‘right of the people to be secure in their persons’ doesn’t count if it’s a virus. I wonder how many other unwritten exceptions are in the 4th Amendment?

    Thanx, Otto! Now we know why the gov’t can arrest us if we don’t wear a mask — they’re helping us to “Regain More Freedom”

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