Wear a mask in public.

It’s a pretty simple gesture, and it’s the right thing to do. Even if the president of the United States doesn’t wear one.

We were disappointed when most attendees at President Donald Trump’s rally opted not to wear masks June 20 in Tulsa.

We hope the tide is turning.

After a June 24 lunch with Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said “everyone should just wear a damn mask.”

Well said, senator. The Sunshine State is experiencing a dramatic spike in COVID-19.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. People do not have immunity to this new virus, and there is no vaccine yet. Presently, its mortality rate is thought to be substantially higher than most strains of the flu.

By not wearing a mask, President Donald Trump is out on a limb. Fortunately, a lot of Republican leaders finally are figuring that out. Pence wore one at a Tuesday press briefing.

“Put on a mask — it’s not complicated,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged Americans the same day.

Although he won’t mandate it, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt also exhibited good leadership. He strongly encouraged Oklahomans to follow federal health guidelines and wear masks in public where social distancing isn’t possible to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Stitt said it’s a small sacrifice to keep businesses open and Oklahoma’s economy humming. After all, football fans want to see the Sooners stick it to the Shorthorns on the football field in the fall.

On June 25, protective face masks were required in indoor settings on all OU campuses. During Tuesday’s special session, the Norman City Council will consider adopting an ordinance mandating the use of face coverings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not a red or blue issue. This is a public goods issue.

All along, the goal has remained to slow the spread to a manageable point so hospitals don’t get overwhelmed.

We engage in collective behaviors for the benefit of all. The law is there to remind us if we don’t do it individually.

Wearing a mask isn’t like wearing a seatbelt, which just protects you from personal injury. It also protects others.

“In a time of plague, shunning a face mask is like driving drunk, putting everyone in your path in danger,” wrote Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist for The New York Times.

One’s civil liberties end when they threaten another life.

If America refuses to be considerate of the health of others, we are not going to defeat this disease.

We cannot outrun COVID-19, but we can slow down this public health threat enough to manage it.

The sooner we can stop the spread, the faster things can return to normal in Norman.

Wear a mask.

The Norman Transcript Editorial Board includes Publisher Mark Millsap, Editor Rob Collins and guest members Brandi Coyner, Keith Gaddie, Bianca Gordon, Kathy Haney, Marc Nuttle, Michael Ridgeway and Nick Wu. For comments or questions, please email editor@normantranscript.com.

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