Let me level with you. I am in favor of and in full support of wearing masks as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus. The flagrant display of rebellion (and jeers from the crowd) against wearing masks at the Utah County meeting last week made national news and was painful to watch.

View this post on Instagram

On Wednesday, the state saw two separate rallies around education, with Utahns protesting mask mandates and demanding in-person classes.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ During an afternoon Utah County commission meeting, one mom grabbed a face mask and spit her gum out into it. “It’s garbage,” she shrugged, wadding it up. “It doesn’t work anyway. Not for me and not for my kids.”⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Parent after parent followed, objecting for more than two hours to having their kids in masks even as counts of the #coronavirus continue to climb across the state.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ The group packed into the small boardroom, pulling tape off the seats meant to maintain social distancing and crowding in against the walls. Almost no one wore a mask; those who did had them pulled under their chins.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Later in the state’s capital, parents and students called on the Salt Lake City School District to get kids back in the classroom instead of continuing online, even as the area — the only location in the state — remains in the “orange,” or moderate, risk phase for the virus. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ These parents, however, are willing to send their kids back to school in masks. Those rallying in Salt Lake City largely supported teachers and said that’s why they want their kids to return to the classroom in person — to be there and learn from educators.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Visit our profile link to read more about yesterday's rallies and what Utah parents had to say. (Photos by @netmoser and Leah Hogsten) #sltribphotos

A post shared by The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) on

We could go into a long debate trying to convince, and while namecalling is fun, realize that shaming often fuels the fire more than to extinguish it. And, given the nature of the virus of late, that most of us are eager to get our kiddos back into school or at least back to some degree next year, we need solutions more than conflagrations. Having two high school students, one an entering freshman and the other a senior at Highland High, I can’t help but hurt inside for the common yet wonderful things they will be missing out on this year.

Charts sometimes seem to be helpful in visually supporting data. I appreciated this particular chart that shows a significant gap between the climb of those testing for COVID-19 in SL County as compared to the rest of the state. The chart (below) shows the rolling average of new cases in Salt Lake County (red line) and the rest of the state (gray line), pointing out that the mandate to wear a mask went into effect on June 25. 

Posted on Twitter, Sunday, July 19, 2020, Robert Gehrke, columnist at sltrib.com: “I updated my graph showing the trends for Salt Lake County and the rest of the state. Today was a bad day for SLCo, 347 new cases bringing the 7-day rolling average to 265, still down from the peak. The rest of the state still surging. 7-day avg now at 371.”

The chart seems to be indicating that a mandate (and compliance) in wearing a mask in public seems to be working, in spite of SL’s higher and denser population, and is mildly encouraging news. For those who are wearing masks, thank you. Please continue to keep it up, make those amazingly clever and cool signs to display in your yards, and stay healthy SLC.

To read more about City Life in SLC, go here.