A repeated phrase I didn’t want to hear this summer was “the new normal.” This was because I knew with that phrase came the possibility that some temporary changes may eventually become permanent in our future. However, there’s another phrase that is worse and one that has belittled the community’s response to the pandemic and that is the phrase “living in fear.”

Earlier this year, we learned that wearing masks would help stop the spread of the virus. The state of Indiana was debating whether or not to implement a mask mandate that would require people to wear a mask when in an indoor public area or outdoor setting where sufficient distancing couldn’t be maintained. The sole purpose of the mandate was for Hoosiers to protect themselves and one another from the spread of a disease that had already killed thousands and there was and still is great opposition to masks with popular statements like “I refuse to live in fear.”

Virginia Aparicio is health and human sciences educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or vaparici@purdue.edu.

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