Face Mask = Car Insurance350I’m back from our short road trip to central Oregon. We had a great trip and spent most of our time outdoors. The only time we spent indoors was at our small hotel/B&B. Unfortunately, the owner was lax about the face mask. He didn’t wear his mask consistently and didn’t enforce Oregon’s statewide mask mandate. None of the guests we saw wore a mask. That county only has 20 total cases so I guess people were complacent. Understandably, COVID doesn’t feel like a threat with so few cases. In contrast, our home county (Multnomah) has over 3,200 cases. We were vigilant and put our masks on whenever we interacted with other people indoors. Outside, we were a bit more lax. It’s a lot easier to keep our distance outdoors. Anyway, I want to talk a bit about the face mask today. Since this is a personal finance blog, I’ll try to connect face masks to finance.

Face Mask & Car Insurance

Here is what I came up with. Let’s think of the face mask like car insurance. Most of us who own vehicles pay for car insurance. We don’t like it, but we want to protect ourselves against catastrophic financial ruin.

Basically, there are 2 types of car insurance.

  1. Liability – This insurance covers the other party’s bodily injury and property damage. Most states require liability insurance.
  2. Personal (PIP, Collision, and Comprehensive) – This part covers your vehicle and injury.

We need auto insurance because an accident can easily bankrupt most households. Imagine crashing into a luxury car and several passengers get hurt. The repair and medical bills could easily exceed $100,000. Of course, nobody wants to have an accident. But we all need insurance just in case it happens.

*BTW, we almost had an accident on our road trip. I was driving down a 2-lane highway at 65 mph and 3 small deer were crossing the street. I braked hard and the middle one jumped out of the way. That enabled me to swerve between them and avoided a collision. That was so close! I was shaken up pretty badly.

We can think of the face mask in the same way. Nobody wants to get COVID. However, you never know when you’ll interact with someone who has it. Isn’t it better to have some insurance and reduce the chance of catching it? Also, many COVID carriers are asymptomatic. You might have COVID and not even realize it. I don’t want my friends and families to get it from me. A face mask helps protect yourself and other people from the coronavirus. Wearing a face mask is the easiest way to keep the number of new cases down so we can get back to normal, or as normal as possible. The longer this pandemic drags on, the worse it will get.

Controversy

Honestly, I don’t get the controversy with the face mask. It is uncomfortable to wear, but that’s a small price to pay for staying healthy AND keeping people around you healthy.

Anyway, it seems some people object to wearing a face mask because they think it infringes on their individual rights. “I’m an American and nobody tells me what to do, especially doctors and scientists.” This is ridiculous. There is no such thing as unlimited freedom because with freedom comes responsibility. Everyone is doing something they don’t like for many reasons.

  • Wearing seat belts
  • Following traffic rules
  • Going to school for an education
  • Working to make money
  • Buying a car, a big house, and all kind of stuff to put in them
  • Eating healthy food and exercise
  • Etc…

You can’t just do everything you want. There are consequences. If you don’t wear your seat belt and ignore traffic laws, then you’ll get into a bad accident sooner or later. It’s the same with the face mask. If you value personal freedom above community health, then COVID-19 will continue to spread. Countries that followed the face mask mandate are doing a lot better than the US. Here, COVID-19 is still spreading out of control.

Here is a good article on how face masks prevent coronavirus from UCSF.

Wear a mask

Is being more comfortable worth worsening the pandemic? The personal freedom argument doesn’t work for me. If you really believe that argument, try doing everything you want with no limits for a few days. Pop a baggie of meths to make yourself happy, run some red lights, and tell the cops off. It won’t end well. (Disclaimer: This is just sarcasm. Don’t do this, obviously.)

Let’s wear a mask and get us back to normal as soon as possible. Oh, and drive carefully too. The roads are treacherous. Have a good summer!

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