OUR VIEW: Think before you share posts

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, July 22, 2020

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As a staff that is constantly inundated with news and trying to keep up with current events, we understand it when people tell us that at times they choose to turn the news off.

It can be overwhelming, and at times, it can be stressful.

The numbers and information coming in from COVID-19 are frustrating, confusing and alarming. We’ve written before about our frustration in not being able to add more context to our numbers. We want to report how many people are currently in the hospital, how many are on ventilators, how many have been released, and how many active cases there are.

Some of that information isn’t being released, and in some instances, it just isn’t available.

On top of that, the information we had in February or March has changed a lot. For instance, back then, it wasn’t recommended to wear a face mask. Now, it’s recommended and in some places, it’s required.

Somehow, that debate has turned political.

We’ve seen a picture posted on Facebook over and over — including in comments on our page — that appear to show a printed out copy of guidelines from the CDC. As part of those guidelines, the screenshot includes a paragraph on facial coverings, which basically says that cloth face masks are completely useless.

There’s also a lengthy post going around from a random person who claims to be OSHA certified and says that masks are ineffective.

These two posts are spreading like wildfire, and to be honest, we just don’t get it.

People would rather believe a post from a random person on Facebook than ask their own physician, or go to the actual CDC website and read their guidance on masks.

“Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others,” the CDC says on its website. “Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”

We believe people should take responsibility when they click “share.” If you share something that’s not true, knowingly or not, you are spreading false rumors and potentially playing a part in reduced mask wear.

In 2020, it’s very easy to verify if something is factual. The CDC provides plenty of information about the importance of wearing a mask on its website. If you’re questioning whether you should wear one, we ask that you do your research and realize the importance of doing so. 

And if you don’t believe us or the CDC, ask your doctor.

And before we get this comment, we realize that the death rate (thankfully) is very low, perhaps even under 1 percent. With that said, more than 600,000 people worldwide have died from COVID-19. For comparison’s sake, that’s more people than live in the entire state of Wyoming.

This is a serious situation, regardless of what political party you vote for. Do your part and wear a mask, and when you see something about this virus on Facebook, think before clicking share.