I saw a Facebook meme a while back that said something to the effect that if COVID-19 proved more deadly for young people, parents and grandparents would do everything in their power to protect the children. Shouldn’t young people, then, do everything they can to protect our older generations?

I wish I could have found the exact phrase to share with you, because it’s one that gives me pause every time I see it.

Why is it such a terrible thing to wear a face mask? I just don’t understand.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have to wear a mask for eight hours a day as I work from home, but it doesn’t seem much of an inconvenience to strap one around my ears — making sure my nose and mouth are covered — to go out and buy my groceries and pick up supplies.

I appreciated when stores and restaurants were diligent about requiring face masks. Thank you for taking that one simple step to help protect not only your employees, but your customers as well.

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What worries me in the midst of another surge in COVID-19 cases is that “Face Mask Required” posters have begun to disappear from front doors and entryways. After having to make three different stops Friday evening for a single ingredient for a snowstorm stew, I was troubled by the easing of requirements, yet thankful for those wearing a mask.

While it may be true that wearing a mask won’t fully protect you from getting the novel coronavirus, isn’t your life worth it — or the life of someone else — to at least try to be safe while you are out and about?

And while I’m asking questions, why did wearing a face mask become a political issue? Shouldn’t we all put trust in our scientists, have faith in our researchers, pray for a successful vaccine and just wear a mask?

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 226,000 Americans had died from a virus that we still don’t have a vaccine for. As of Sunday afternoon, 56 residents from the six counties of far southwest Minnesota and three counties of far northwest Iowa had died. In the last week, Rock County lost not only its first, but its first four residents; and Osceola County, Iowa, recorded its first COVID-19 death this week. The lives that were lost were parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, children and siblings to people who still walk among us.

While losing a loved one is incredibly difficult for anyone, attending a funeral during this pandemic is heart-wrenching. It’s human nature to want to hug and hold and comfort those who grieve, but even COVID-19 has made us pause to do these simplest of actions.