You probably have noticed that there are lots of people wearing masks outside. At the grocery store, on walks with their dogs, and you might have even seen police officers, firefighters or mail carriers wearing them, too. Do you know why they’re wearing masks outside?
There is a new virus in the world right now called the coronoavirus or COVID-19. There are scientists all over the world who are working hard to figure out how to keep people from spreading COVID-19. Along with social distance and washing our hands, one of the easiest ways to stop the spread is to wear a mask over your nose and mouth. We do this for the same reason we cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze to stop the spread of germs.
People wearing masks look different, don’t they? Some kids may recognize people who wear masks like this as helpers like doctors and nurses who work in hospitals, or maybe you recognize helpers who wear masks as painters, construction workers, or helpers who clean our schools, stores and other places lots of people go.
Other kids may be a little nervous about seeing everyone wear masks because they can’t see someone else’s whole face. This will not last forever, but for right now, it is important to remember that people with masks are not scary people. They may be wearing a mask because they are sick, and they don’t want to get someone else sick. They also may be wearing a mask if they are healthy so that they stay healthy.
These masks are not like Halloween masks – they are not part of a costume. They are just to help keep each other safe.
People who wear masks can still talk, and you can still hear them.
The only way this world will get better is if we work hard to take care of ourselves, our families and the people in our communities. Wearing masks to play outside, to go to the store, to visit family members from their yards can be frustrating, annoying, itchy or uncomfortable. Adults feel that way, too—just ask your family!
This will not last forever. We have to remember that, for right now, we all have to work hard to keep each other safe.
Becca is a child life specialist who has worked at Lurie Children's Hospital in ambulatory and surgerical care for the past five years. She also serves on Lurie's ethics board as one of the psychosocial representatives. She's currently pursuing a certificate in pediatric bioethics. In her free time, she likes to run, take pictures, read and eat sushi.