I went shopping and tallied the mask-wearing situation at four different stores. Most stores didn't have lots of masks, but one did.
The first store was GW on Valley boulevard in Rosemead. This is an Asian store, mostly Chinese goods. They had a line outside, and in it were 11 people with masks, and 2 without.
Inside, there were more people wearing masks, including all the cashiers.
The second store was Grocery Outlet, a store with discount and health foods. Of the customers, 10 people wore masks, and 9 people did not. The two cashiers did not have masks on. One staffer had a mask on, but the others I saw did not.
The third store was Tozai Market, a small convenience store with Japanese food, a deli, and a small produce refrigerator. I bought a bunch of Japanese food here. Of the customers, 3 were wearing masks, and 2 were not. Of the staff, 2 of 3 wore masks.
The fourth store was the Rosemead Walmart. I did not go in, because on my previous excursion, the lack of masks was too much for me. On that trip, around 25% of the customers seemed to be masked. This time, I only cruised around the parking lot a couple minutes, counting masks on customers.
7 customers were wearing masks, and 28 were not.
I have been writing to each store to express my support, or lack of it, for the stores use of masks.
The employees need to be supplied with washable masks, and be instructed on how to wear and remove them.
Not now, but, eventually, we'll need to create rules where shoppers will be required to wear masks to shop.
While this sounds "draconian" or "extreme", the GW market was bascially 100% masked up, or could have been if the remaining few customers could purchase masks at the store.
Do masks help? The short answer is "yes". It's not perfect - and doesn't stop all the possible infection - but it reduces the likelihood of infection, if it's combined with social distancing and other sanitation.
There's a high correlation between the countries that use masks, and control of the coronavirus spread. These countries used masks: Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore. They're used across Asia.
The crafter movement has taken up the effort of sewing masks for healthcare providers.
Individuals who want a mask should try to sew one, but if you cannot sew, you can buy handmade masks on Etsy and Ebay. Some vendors are also selling on Facebook.
While masking up might seem a hassle, or even restrictive, they are a reasonable tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They impinge less on our freedoms than what could happen during a lockdown with curfew.
Communities have been managing plagues and epidemics for centuries. While the methods were primitive, they helped people survive. We will get through this, and learn to live with SARS-CoV-2, by adapting our behavior, and learning how to avoid infection.
Masking up is a tool to control infection, and take steps away from total lockdown and increased death.