To wear a mask or not to wear a mask should not be the question. The question should be, "How much do I love myself and others?" America has entered a new phase because of the rampant spreading of the coronavirus. Currently, over 159,000 Americans have died, and over 4.8 million have tested positive for the virus. Sadly, we have more cases and deaths than any other country.
How did this happen in the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world? This is not the time to play the "blame game." Nothing positive will happen. What we must do now is learn from our past decisions. What did we do right, and what did we do wrong?
During the meeting of Sumter County Council on July 14, 2020, I stated that I am concerned about citizens not wearing face masks and the devastating effect COVID-19 is having in Sumter County and South Carolina. I asked Chairman McCain to "consider members of County Council to work with City Council on ways to combat the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sumter County." I feel that the two governing bodies need to jointly develop new strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our county.
At our next council meeting on July 28, 2020, "A Resolution Of Sumter County Council Urging That Face Coverings Or Masks Be Worn In Public In The Unincorporated Areas Of Sumter County During The Covid-19 Public Health Emergency and Recovery." This resolution was approved by a six-to-one vote. I voted against the resolution because I knew it would not be effective. To me, it was like "urging people to wear a seatbelt."
I will continue my efforts to make it mandatory to wear a mask in Sumter County. You can help by letting our elected officials know that you expect them to make decisions that are best for the health, safety and welfare of ALL citizens. Courageous leadership is urgently needed to defeat COVID-19.
EUGENE R. BATEN
Sumter County Council, District 7
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