The irony of illness spread: Clean hands, no mask

There are a dozen different ways America got off to a bad late start in responding to COVID-19.

To illustrate one, consider this picture.

Two co-workers or friends are standing close together, neither wearing masks, congratulating themselves on their scrupulous hand washing.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Sanitizing hands and surfaces were stressed early on, even as ramping up of diagnostic testing never (and still hasn’t) reached adequate levels.

At first, regular people wearing masks was not stressed. But in the weeks and months since, there is consensus that as a relatively simple measure, wearing face coverings makes sense.

Unfortunately, that message either hasn’t gotten through to people or is anathema to those who have a political/ideological problem with wearing masks—and who resist protecting those who might get sick or die.

You can wash or sanitize your hands every five minutes. But unless you are absolutely confident through diagnostic testing that you and those you stand near to are not infected, a face covering is just prudent common sense. Which seems to be a bridge too far for a lot of Americans.