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Leon Bibb: We are losing the fight. Let's wear the mask!

The tragedy of COVID-19 has hit his loved ones, not once, but twice. 3News' Leon Bibb delivers a heartfelt message to Northeast Ohio.

CLEVELAND — Over the last several months, two of my aunts died. Both tested positive for the COVID-19. 

Both my aunts, suffering from several physical ailments were in Cleveland-area nursing homes when the coronavirus hit.   

Before this pandemic is over, there will be more death. Daily, the numbers are staggering.    

We are losing the fight. The numbers tell us that. So do the funerals.   

Frontline medical people are frantically working, trying to save lives. But think beyond the numbers. Think of the faces of lives lost. Of families grieving. Of friends touched.      

We salute the medical people on the battleline in a war to save lives. We salute the researchers in their laboratories who search for a vaccine to end this war against a worldwide pandemic.    

We salute all others who the frontlines of food supply and other essentials to keep us going. They are battleline soldiers, too.  

In many ways, all of us are. I'll tell you how in a moment.       

But I worry about those of us who are not doing their parts in the fight against the virus. We are all asked to do something very low-tech, but vital.   

Wear masks.  

Still, some are not masked when we know masking in public will lessen the spread of the killer virus. So, too, will keeping a social distance.    

I have seen parties of people in large elbow-to-elbow gatherings seemingly enjoying life, but without masks. Their parties appear as if there were no pandemic.

Refusing to accept the gravity of the situation is trouble. To eventually win this battle is going to take every one of us doing our part. The medical people and scientists searching for a cure are working to keep us alive, but some people are throwing even the most basic of cautions to the wind – the same wind which can carry coronavirus. 

The face mask is the first line of defense against an unforgiving enemy.    

This is the battle of a lifetime. The first line of defense are masks, which can slow or stop the spread of the virus. If we all follow wise advice and mask-up where and when we should, we can save lives, slow the virus, and buy us time until a vaccine is found.    

 We all want normal again.  But normal – even a new normal however it will look  – is on the other side of victory. Each of us is a soldier in this war.   

As we stand apart in social distancing, we are really an army standing together.  

Until a vaccine can give us the "all clear," a simple face mask can help win this battle. Those who speak against masks gamble with their own lives and those of others. Unmasked in public is a bad bet. Figure and play the odds.   

In more ways than one, the odds are far better if you put your mask where your mouth is.       

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