//Masks for Dummies pt. VI

Masks for Dummies pt. VI

By I. smiley G. Calderón | smileygcalderon@gmail.com

Well, now that the election is over and everyone’s happy with the results… (or lack thereof) – Yeah, right! – Just kidding… It’s been one hell of a nightmare rollercoaster of nonstop dirty, polemic, and divisive confabulation these past few weeks! But no matter how politically crazy and exhausting it’s been, it’s been no match for how depressing and soul-crushing the coronavirus has been to our country.  

We are now well over 231,000 COVID-related deaths, with a total of over 9 million confirmed cases. And, as you know, the United States has about 330 million people in it. So, that means that, at one time or another in the past 8 months, about 3% of the population has been infected. That is to say, it has taken the virus only 8 months to spread to 9 million Americans. And of these inflicted, about 2.5% have died. So, at this rate, if it takes only 8 months to mercilessly and swiftly kill 231,000 of 9,000,000 people, does that mean that we should expect countless hundreds of thousands more dead by next summer? – Think about what I’m saying here: we know this virus isn’t just ‘going away.’ Instead, it’s adapting, evolving, and looking for new ways to spread and thrive.

And, unfortunately for us, it’s been doing a pretty damn good job at it.

The problem is SARS-CoV-2 is adept at literally breaking into one of the most important and ubiquitous cell receptors found all throughout our body: ACE-2, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. The invading coronavirus legion uses its many unforgiving outer protein spikes to rip open innocent ACE-2 receptors everywhere in your body. Essentially, it gains control of the cell machinery that lines the epithelial cells of your nose and throat, making it highly contagious like the common cold. But, unlike the common cold, COVID-19 is pervasive and invades the ACE-2 receptors in your lungs, heart, kidneys – everywhere it can find it, wreaking destructive havoc throughout your body.

And it’s even worse for men. (And not just because we are stubborn and refuse to listen, either).

Why? Well, because it just so happens that testosterone also increases ACE-2 receptor production. So, basically, the more ACE-2 receptors, the more risk of a bad COVID-19 outcome. After 230,000 Americans died because of this god-awful plague, we need to finally recognize the fact that this invisible and infinitesimally tiny threat is actually a huge formidable and cunning enemy. An enemy that we’ll need to collectively fight the best way we know how as a united people to survive.

Which is why wearing masks is (still) crucial.

We’ve gone over this before, but if we can reduce the amount of viral load allowed to enter our bodies or prevent entry at all – we would have a better chance of fighting off infection. This makes sense, right? Let me say it in a more mundane kind of way: if we don’t let the murderous thief inside the front door, we all have a good chance of survival – right? It’s pretty simple. In this case, our ‘front door’ is at the face, nose and mouth. And our ‘murderous thief’ is SARS-CoV-2. So, as long as we keep our ‘front door’ covered and closed, we have a better chance of keeping mister killer coronavirus out.

But, with about 100,000 new coronavirus cases each day in the U.S. and over 1,000 deaths a day, our trajectory doesn’t look too good. As it is now, one American is diagnosed with coronavirus every second, and another one dies every two minutes. And it’s only getting worse, unfortunately. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a medicine professor at George Washington University, offered this frightening foreboding: “The 100,000 cases yesterday two weeks from now will start to translate into massive numbers of deaths…So we’re going to see not just cases continue to escalate, but we’re going to see perhaps 2,000 deaths per day two or three weeks from now.”

Imagine being on a sinking ship with water rushing crazily in. People are dying right in front of your eyes, gasping for air, trying not to drown. All the while, a group onboard urges everyone just to wait it out for the experts to fix the leaks – to wait it out for their modern miraculous technology to save the day. That’d be stupid, right? When your ship is sinking, it’s not ‘business as usual.’ No, man – it’s time to do whatever it takes to either try to keep that boat afloat or abandon ship – whatever it takes to keep your people alive. Well, America, sad to say, but our ship’s been sinking. And, if we try to ‘wait it out’ for a miraculous vaccine or state-of-the-art therapeutic to save the day instead of taking immediate commonsense measures like mask-wearing and social distancing to keep us safe, many more of us will be doomed, sadly.

This is no leftwing liberal conspiracy, people. And, there’s no political agenda here. Despite what you may have heard, you’re gonna still be hearing about this damn virus well after the election is over, for months and even possibly years to come. For sure, if you or your family has already been negatively affected by it, you’re going to remember it for a lifetime.

Here in Fresno, the 443 families that have lost their loved ones since March will never forget.  

Don’t be a dummy – keep on wearing that mask. Do your part and encourage others to do the same (maybe they’ll listen to YOU). Hopefully, one day soon, we, as a united and resilient species, will see the light at the end of the tunnel and rise up and defeat this invisible beast.

One mask at a time.