By Wayne Dawkins

For those who say they don’t want to mask or vax against coronavirus, please listen to this personal story.

While out of town for work, I received a midnight text from my wife. 

Her youngest brother, she said, tested positive for COVID despite being vaccinated.

She rushed him to an urgent care facility overnight. My exhausted wife then got up before dawn to take her brother’s wife to a facility for COVID testing. The initial results were negative. The in-law is physically compromised and susceptible to the virus. Her husband is now home, quarantining and feeling very sick. He is a bear of a man, yet his lungs are weak and susceptible to pneumonia, said my wife, his older sister. 

There’s irony here: It was my ill brother-in-law who, last March, tipped us to a local pharmacist who had the two-shot Pfiizer vaccine. We rushed from Suffolk to next-door Chesapeake, Virginia and got the shots. 

Thank you, Tony. 

Personally, I feel great: Twice vaxxed with the recommended booster. 

I mask most of the time, however at Christmas I received a cherished stocking stuffer gift, N95 masks. So, I upgraded my personal mask protection.

I am slightly confident, but not cocky. One slip up and I could be sickened. 

Last week my wife and I, both grandparents, had a child-care emergency. Our 2-year-old’s day care provider tested positive for COVID, so my wife’s daughter left the boy with us. That canceled my trip to work in Maryland, so I teleworked in order to help with child care. 

As for the young mom and stepdaughter, an elementary school teacher, she went to the classroom. Faith was distressed that Gov. Glenn Younkin, in his first act as chief executive, canceled the school masking mandate instituted by the predecessor, who was a medical doctor.

So, the above is my personal experience. 

Masking and vaccines work, but you can still get sick or inconvenienced, but not like the high chance of death or permanent organ damage we witnessed this time two years ago when the virus had just landed and had health professionals scrambling in order to understand the pandemic.

Vaccines and booster shots offer superior protection from the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19, said three studies released by the Centers for Disease Control, reported the Wall Street Journal late last week.

Yet, at the moment we as a nation are in a conflicted state: About 70% of the country is on board with vaxxing and masking, while 30% is resisting, filling hospital beds or worse dying. Entire regions seem to be getting healthier, while other regions are stuck in sickness. 

My plea: The pandemic, waves of COVID-19, Delta and Omicron, are exhausting, demoralizing and mystifying. 

And sickening, debilitating and still, at times, deadly. 

So, vaxx and mask please.

The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication. 

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