Vogt's Notes: There’s no shame in wearing a mask, or in contracting COVID-19

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We couldn’t believe it in mid-March when restaurants, bars, salons and barbershops, gyms, churches, schools and more were forced to close, and we were told to work from home if possible.

We couldn’t believe it in late March when we were ordered to stay home and ended up doing so until mid-May.

We couldn’t believe it in late July when we were told we had to wear face masks in public places.

There’s no doubt COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has thrown the entire world for a loop. Add to that people’s opinions on different aspects of the whole scenario, and we have a world in utter chaos right now, including right here in the lakes area.

Opinions and politics aside, it’s time for all of us to follow the rules - regardless of whether we agree with the rule-setters.


That means we have to wear face masks. That means we have to follow social distancing guidelines. That means we have to notify others if we’ve contracted COVID-19. That means we have to avoid others, including our loved ones, if we have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Are we all sick and tired of these rules? Are we fed up with avoiding loved ones, or wondering if we’re doing the right thing when visiting family and friends, or having second thoughts after making social plans?

Of course we are.

But this is no time to rebel. What we thought might last a month or two at most - this health pandemic - is showing no sign of stopping.

There’s no shame in following the rules outlined by state leaders and health care providers regarding COVID-19. These are all fairly simple steps to protect others, especially those who may not recover from this deadly virus as quickly and easily as others can. As one lakes area person told me: “(It’s) sad that it seems people are shamed if they get it, like a bad sexually transmitted disease or something.”

This person wisely said it’s time to wake up; any town could be on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of COVID-19 hotspots. So we must follow the latest rule and wear a face mask in public places, as we’ve been ordered to do from our top state official, along with following all the previous orders and suggestions.

To put it simply, as a weekend Brainerd Dispatch editorial offered: Minnesota’s statewide mask mandate would appear on many levels the best option for a bad scenario. That bad scenario is the rise in COVID-19 cases, including here in Minnesota.

It’s likely safe to say no one wants to wear a mask. We feel silly. It’s not always comfortable. But there are some very fun and cute face masks out there. Find one and wear it with pride.


As Dr. Peter Henry, Essentia Health chief medical officer, said last month: “(Face masks) have been proven to protect us and protect others. And by wearing a mask you’re not making a political statement. You’re making a statement that says, ‘I care about others.’ Because that’s really what masks do. They protect people who are around you. If we all do our part by wearing masks, and by practicing social distancing whenever possible, constant hand washing, we can drastically lessen the threat of COVID-19 until the vaccine is available.

“This issue shouldn’t divide us, it should unite us as a common cause to protect each other,” Henry said.

If there’s any chance that wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19, or prevent even one person from contracting the virus, let’s all pitch in and do our part.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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