Let’s protect ourselves and each other, save the economy, and express empathy for those who suffer.

Selfie of the Author at a New York City grocery store

I’m not Batman — I’m just a guy who covers his face whenever he’s in public.

I wear a mask because a new and dangerous virus has already killed more than 300,000 of my fellow Americans, ruined much of our economy, and continues to spread across the country and throughout the world.

The virus mostly spreads through water droplets released from our mouths. By wearing a mask, I prevent my droplets from reaching other people; and when other people wear a mask, their droplets can’t reach me, either.

If I wear a mask and others wear masks, then our droplets can’t reach each other. If our droplets can’t reach, then the virus will spread less. And if it spreads less, then it will hurt fewer people. That’s it. That’s all I need to know.

Not only will less people get sick and die, but the economy will bounce back faster, too. Less virus means more business. And unlike restrictive measures such as lockdowns, mask wearing and distancing help keep things moving.

I also wear a mask to show solidarity with others around me who cherish life, respect public safety, and express empathy for the vulnerable, ailing, and the dead — more than a million and a half throughout the world, and counting.

Whenever I see others wearing a mask, I feel we are all part of a team working together to reduce suffering and death. I don’t feel like my rights are taken away; I actually feel the opposite, that I’m free to help make the world better.

Wearing a mask isn’t difficult — far easier than exposing myself or others to unnecessary risk. It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it. And before you know it, your mask becomes a badge of honor, a visible sign that you care.

I can’t force anyone else to wear a mask, but I can and do set a responsible and healthy example for my kids and others. Every day I do my small part to help slow the suffering, accelerate our recovery, and stop the spread. Join me!

The global pandemic is complex, but what we can each do is simple — wear a mask. Together, we can save tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The vaccines are on their way, but we have months to go. We can do this.