No Mask = Russian Roulette

Larry Woods
3 min readJun 4, 2020


Girl putting on a face mask — Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

If you are still trying to decide whether it is necessary to wear a face mask when out in public, or if you don’t presently wear a face mask, then this article should help you decide. If you feel that you are very healthy and that your past bouts with the flu have been very mild, first read Comparing COVID-19 to flu and then come back to this article.

I went to the grocery store yesterday. I had visited it a week ago and was impressed that the majority of the shoppers were wearing masks. Yesterday, not so. As a mask-wearer, I was in the minority. I found myself thinking, “What do these people know that I don’t?” Since this pandemic started taking shape in February, I have read two books on pandemics and one on viruses (layman’s edition). I have read numerous articles from the CDC, NIH, and various educational institutions that relate to viruses and pandemics. I wanted to ask some of these face-naked shoppers where they got the advice that wearing masks was not necessary. Hopefully, their decision was not based on taking the position that Thomas Friedman, New York Times, calls being “dumb-as-we-wanta-be.”

Here is why I wear a mask and practice both social and physical distancing. We are dealing with a virus, SARS-CoV-2, that was only recognized by the scientific community approximately six months ago. It is a virus from the coronavirus family, like SARS, MERS, and the Common Cold. Scientists worldwide are working 24/7 to understand more about this virus and find a vaccine for it. No one, including the brightest virologist in the world, knows whether being exposed to this virus will help immunize you to further exposures. No one, including the brightest virologist in the world, knows how long you might be protected if you are immunized by exposure. No one, etc., knows whether this virus will mutate into another form of the virus by the time that a vaccine might be available. I absolutely know these statements to be true because we have only known about this virus for a few months! Will it go away in the summer? We don’t know. Will it return in the fall? We don’t know. Will it be a different virus a year from now? We don’t know.

Will wearing a mask guarantee that you won’t get COVID-19? No. Also, not wearing a mask will not guarantee that you will get the virus, or that you will pass it on to someone else. Common logic does tell me that the risk of getting COVID-19 is much, much less if I do wear a mask.

Here is the point that should convince everyone to wear a mask. If you do get the virus, you will have an infection that is virtually known by medical professionals, with treatment protocols that “worked for the last guy,” but are not 100% guaranteed to work for you. And, assuming you come through the ordeal, you won’t know if you might get infected again since the best you can be told at this time is that you might make it a few months because that’s all the history we have for this virus; i.e., this virus has only been known for approximately six months!

Wear a mask. Practice social and physical distancing. Period!