Masks: you asked, here’s the fuller story.

Masks: you asked, here’s the fuller story.

Well, I made the headline of the Chronicle this morning as the candidate with Covid. Yay me. 🙂 Mike Wright was kind enough to offer to not write about it, but he felt like it was a story that needed to be told. After some thought, I decided that it might help my fellow citizens. I also knew that with this issue being so polarizing, that I’d probably also lose some votes. Mike’s article was for all intents and purposes accurate, but there are some nuances to my beliefs that I’d like to get out here in my own words.

I have a decent amount of math and science education, although midstream I switched from an aerospace engineering degree to go into business. That being said, I’m not an expert on mask efficacy or lack therefore. So my personal opinion is worth exactly that – it’s a personal opinion. I happen to believe that masks have value in reducing the amount of virus you shed into your surroundings. You may have the opposite opinion, which you are absolutely entitled to.

What I *am* an expert in is human behavior, in particular, consumer behavior. Believe the numbers, don’t believe the numbers, believe masks work, don’t believe masks work… we all have opinions, but consumer behavior will dictate what our reality is. What I see is this: the numbers of cases, real or perceived, will remain directly tied to the health of our businesses (especially small, personal-interaction businesses like gyms, salons, and restaurants), and employment. Numbers go up, business failures go up, unemployment goes up, our bailout bill goes up.

I’m a pragmatist and a conservative. This is what I see happening, so I choose to wear a mask to do what I can to help us get out of this mess. I don’t go around lecturing people, and I certainly don’t mask shame. I mind my own business, but as someone who’s applying to work for the citizens of Citrus County, I felt it was important to speak up and encourage folks to voluntarily wear a mask to do everything we can to get back to normal. We need our small businesses in Citrus, and I will take all the flak anyone wants to hand out for my encouraging mask use, because I believe it’s what we need to do for our small business owners and employees.

By the way – I feel fantastic now, completely back to normal. It was 12 days of fever. Six weren’t too bad, while other other six were fairly miserable (the one night of burning lungs in the article, then some decent days, then the last five were, shall we say, difficult). But it’s over, and I’m blessed that I had a very early heads up I’d been exposed and therefore I did not have the opportunity to unwittingly pass it along myself. I stayed home, had groceries delivered, a fellow candidate (on the first day of early voting no less!) made THE BEST homemade chicken soup and delivered it in a rainstorm to my garage. Friends and supporters texted and called to be sure I was doing okay. All in all, I’m glad it’s over and I feel fortunate for the love of so many family and friends.