Dear President Cooper: {One Mom’s Opinion}

As a lifelong resident of St Tammany, my husband and I chose to raise our family here because of the quality of life. A big factor in that quality of life is the safety of our community.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic many residents, my family included, have felt increasingly unsafe in the place we choose to call home. Today, your refusal to mandate mask wearing, calling upon citizens to use their personal responsibility to do so, has only increased that feeling of unease.

We know masks work – even you stated that they work and we should wear them. However, people are often unwilling to make changes to their routine, even if it promotes the greater good. We saw during the stay at home orders that St. Tammany consistently received a failing grade on the Unacast social distancing scoreboard because the stay at home orders and ban on gatherings were not enforced. A significant portion of our residents are completely unwilling to comply with what is requested of them, especially when it goes unenforced.

The battle cry of the anti-mask crowd is one of “personal choice” and you support their choice, even at the risk of danger to the greater public health. By that logic, there should no longer be enforcement of speed limits and drunk driving laws, because those actions are also a personal choice, even though a lack of compliance poses a risk to public health and safety.

You say that you are pro-business and want our businesses to be able to open safely. Mandated masks are pro-business. Yes, masks are currently mandated for employees under state guidelines. A mask provides protection for those in contact with the wearer, not the wearer himself. If the population exercises their personal choice to remain unmasked in businesses, our workforce is left vulnerable to infection. We have already had several locally owned restaurants and a branch of our public library close because of COVID positive employees. This is costly to businesses both in terms of lost revenue from closure, as well as extra expenses incurred for the extensive cleaning that is required.

We’ve been doing this since March. We have had plenty of time to rely on a person’s sense of honor and responsibility to protect his or her neighbor but the community spread is increasing and we need more than just a “pretty please”. 

To quote Albert Einstein, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”  We need a leader who is willing to do the right thing, right now, to preserve the health, safety and prosperity of St. Tammany Parish for the long term. Please, Mr. Cooper: mandate masks. 


 1 Aaro, David. “Wearing a surgical mask can reduce coronavirus transmission by up to 75 percent, study says.” Fox News, 20 May. 2020, www.foxnews.com/health/wearing-face-mask-reduce-coronavirus-transmission-75-percent-study-shows.

2  “Covid-19 Social Distancing Scoreboard — Unacast.” 1 July 2020, www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard?view=county&fips=22103.

3 Stutt Richard O. J., H., et al. “A modelling framework to assess the likely effectiveness of facemasks in combination with lock-down in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.” Proceedings of the Royal Society A, vol. 476, no. 2238, 24 June 2020, doi:10.1098/rspa.2020.0376.

4 Cheng, Vincent CC, et al. “The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2.” Journal of Infection (2020)

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2 Comments on "Dear President Cooper: {One Mom’s Opinion}"

  1. The death rates are stable and lower than flu. The masks don’t prevent getting it or spreading it and lower blood oxygen levels. We are near herd immunity. Forget the masks.

  2. Daniel Munn | July 3, 2020 at 4:20 am | Reply

    I completely disagree! I am proud of President Cooper for standing up and NOT mandating masks. Wear a mask, or don’t . But don’t MANDATE them. The death toll has significantly decreased. Hospitals are not overrun. This is no worse than the flu

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