I would like to thank the St. Francois County Health Department for being proactive in advocating for, and instituting, a mask mandate in this county.
As a chaplain working in this community, I see the devastation firsthand. When this crisis began last spring, I was assigned to a Covid unit at St. Louis University Hospital and the Emergency Department. I would respectfully suggest that anyone who opposes the wearing of a mask has never stood outside the glass of an ICU room and watched a patient slowly die without family at bedside. The population I worked with was predominantly African American, with medical complications related directly to inner city poverty and lack of access to healthcare that many of us take for granted.
We may believe that those who are vulnerable in this pandemic could choose to isolate and stay safe. This may be true for some, but for those who are in jobs in which their employers put profit over safety, or for those individuals who are confined to skilled nursing facilities, or those who are incarcerated, it is a very different story. These are our sisters and brothers who are dying along with the elderly and other susceptible groups including, but not limited to, Native American and Hispanic populations who are disproportionately affected by the choices we have made.
We must never forget that we are all family. When we decide it is not necessary to wear a mask or employ social distancing, the effects have implications beyond our community. When we fail to take simple measures to reduce the spread of this virus, we are showing a total disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable among us. This is a pro-life issue, which this health department has recognized.
Thank you so much for taking a brave and intelligent position in securing the health of this community and beyond. You should be exceedingly proud of the work you do.
Rev. Robert Crecelius
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