As we are in the middle of a resurgence of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I have slowly learned that I cannot change the world because not everyone believes what I believe. Some say I buy in too much to the media, however the facts are data driven and persons in the world are experiencing sickness more than ever. Almost a year after the start of this illness, we have yet to know what truly causes it nor what its true symptoms are. We are in a race to finish the trials and get a vaccine in the market, yet we don’t truly know the long-lasting effects of it.
As many know, last week was Halloween which we often associate our young ones going down the streets of the neighborhood and trick or treating, or in a parade. At schools in the US, many of these events were cancelled. Depending on the jurisdiction, parades were as well, however I did not go to the one in my community this year. I did participate in trick or treat at a sibling’s house while they and my mother took my niece trick or treating through the neighborhood. I decided to hand treats. My mother and I both in different realms of an urban neighborhood took mental surveys of precautionary measures being undertaken by residents of the neighborhood. I at my sibling’s house overseeing the task of passing out the candy witnessed that about 80% of the trick-or-treaters were unmasked and kept close distance.
I chose to wear my mask outside while overseeing the task of distribution of the Halloween candy. I was criticized by those close to me for doing so. However, being in a high-risk county, being around serval hundreds of unknown persons I was weary of being in contact with someone that may have been in contact with COVID. The schools in the neighborhood have had dozens of cases and the contract tracing was conducted. You would think those in care of the ones under quarantine or those experiencing symptoms or in contact with the infected would follow the precautions to ensure that they do not hit the streets and trick or treat. This was my personal opinion, and I wanted to be safe, and for the two hours I distributed candy, the mask was on the majority of the time.
As for the other candy givers in the neighborhood, they for 90% of them I was told followed social distancing guidelines and had their treats away from the front door of their residences. Regardless, we know that it takes only one person to start the chain to spread, so precautions are a must.
Now I want to explore the task of universal masking for a moment with the autistic community. I have noticed that it is a mixed understanding of how autistics will tolerate the use of masks and social distancing. Some individuals are up to the tasks, such as myself because it is rigid, expectant and gives ques on how to do things, even if they are new to us and result in change. Likewise, individuals who struggle with universal masking, particularly the younger aged and individuals with communication difficulty struggle with masking greater. Honestly, I totally accept the simple fact that not everyone can wear a mask, thankfully our state’s executive universal masking order ha provisions for individuals with sensory issues thus making them exempt.
My point is this, there’s great advocacy organizations and videos out there making it easy for autistics to learn how to wear a mask and get one that’s comfortable for them. We just want a life like every one else, not to be subject to torture at the store or on public transportation, as management of these facilities mandate the usage of protection at these facilities. I personally feel that the universal masking is not going away anytime soon and that one must hunker down and prepare for the fact that it is important to follow all government orders in order to have seamless transition into the next chapter and beyond.