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After having read this morning a survey of new spikes of the coronavirus, I find myself swinging on an emotional trapeze between feelings of disappointment and anger at the stupidity of all the people who have disregarded the protocols directed by governments around the world in the face of the disease. While I understand the protests in our country and elsewhere against racism and police brutality, I find it difficult to abide those who disregard the order for the wearing of masks and the 6-foot distance between people in public.

I live in New York State and thereby can testify to the success of following those directives. I have watched the daily reports of the diminishing number of deaths in our state each day which this week reached 24 after peaking weeks ago in the hundreds. Surprisingly to many people, New Yorkers have proven themselves to be obedient citizens!

To be fair, I must admit that I live in a rural area and can work from home so am somewhat protected. There have been a few days when I have needed to abort my visits to the post office (my only excursions that take me out of my house and car) because of forgetting my mask. I learned quickly, however, to be more mindful, even if only to realize that I could leave a mask in my car to avoid such frustration. It is said that learning a new habit takes 29 days. If that is true, there seems now – after day 100 of this new reality – that we would have learned the processes of masking and standing 6 feet apart.

I can only think that living in the United States of America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” has accustomed us to blurring the lines of freedom toward license when things become difficult. It’s hard to always do the “right thing” or even to know what that thing is. There are situations in this country and elsewhere that demand dangerous responses to the situation and courageous actions in the face of this pandemic. First responders and healthcare workers among many other groups deserve our respect and admiration. Moreover, they deserve our compliance to what has been asked of us for the common good.

It is not a choice; it’s a necessity! So please: put on that mask and forego that hug, even when it hurts! It may just be that you are saving a life by doing so.